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“Now you are God’s people”

August 26, 2023

Daily Scripture

1 Peter 2:4-10

4 Now you are coming to him as to a living stone. Even though this stone was rejected by humans, from God’s perspective it is chosen, valuable. 5 You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Thus it is written in scripture, Look! I am laying a cornerstone in Zion, chosen, valuable. The person who believes in him will never be shamed [Isaiah 28:16]. 7 So God honors you who believe. For those who refuse to believe, though, the stone the builders tossed aside has become the capstone. 8 This is a stone that makes people stumble and a rock that makes them fall. Because they refuse to believe in the word, they stumble. Indeed, this is the end to which they were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 10 Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

God used Israel’s desert sanctuary to draw Israelites into God’s presence (cf. Exodus 25:8-9). God worked through the Temples in Jerusalem, before and after Jesus’ earthly life (cf. Acts 2:46), to draw people into a life-changing relationship. God has used many other buildings in history as instruments to build his spiritual temple in human lives. Resurrection currently has six physical locations, one with a huge, stunning window, plus an online “building” which has our second largest worship attendance. But our faith is never about buildings. When Peter wrote today’s passage, there were no Christian cathedrals anywhere, just groups that met in people’s homes to worship. Yet the apostle saw God’s people as “living stones” God was building into the “real” temple, just as the apostle Paul called the church “the body of Christ” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:5). Peter said all God’s people are “a spiritual temple” called to “tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you.” *

  • Pastor Paul Cedar wrote, “A spiritual temple requires a very specific kind of building material. It is to be built of living stones—the very lives of those who have become spiritually alive through faith in Jesus Christ. And such building must begin with Jesus Christ.” ** How has this process shaped your life? How did you become a “living stone”? What “mortar” connects you with other members of this “temple” God is building? Peter drew from Exodus 19:5-6 and Isaiah 61:6 (Israelite people were a “holy priesthood”) and Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 (Israelites freed from exile were God’s people, though for a time they hadn’t been). Have you ever thought of yourself as a member of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession”? How can that reshape your sense of value, mission, and purpose in life?

O God, thank you for what you are building in my life and in my church. Thank you that in your grace you claim me as one for your own possession. Amen.

GPS Insights

Penny Ellwood

Penny Ellwood

Penny Ellwood serves as the Location Pastor for Resurrection Blue Springs in Blue Springs, MO.

I was thinking about the questions for today, “How do you become a ‘living stone’?” and ‘What “mortar” connects you with other members of this ‘living temple’ God is building?” and my recent mission trip to Honduras came to mind. In June, my husband and I traveled with ten others from Resurrection to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to work with the students and community leaders from Cuidad Espana and to learn more about our mission projects there. 

We came with some trepidation, most of us having little knowledge of the language and unsure of exactly what we would be doing with the students, other than attempting to share the love of God with our southern neighbors. As our team worked together on projects, like helping our students from Juan Wesley learn English or planning how we might effectively engage the kids in the Bible stories for a day of vacation bible school, it was fun to see our team’s gifts rise up and come together as we created and planned together. It felt a bit like we were stacking living stones in our desire to connect and share God’s love with the people there.

On Sunday, we joined the local congregation from the mission church for their service of worship and were invited to sing a song for the congregation. We knew this was coming and although it was a big stretch for some not accustomed to singing in a choir, we worked up a simple song to sing for the congregation. The song was “Santo, Santo, Santo” (Holy, Holy, Holy) with verses in both English and Spanish. 

Our new friends seemed pleased at our attempts at Spanish and joined along in the song. As our combined voices rose to fill the church, the worship drew us together. This was the mortar connecting us as the body of Christ despite our differences and the distance that separates us. It was good for us to see the strong faith of these beautiful Honduran people who live in extreme poverty and face the potential threat of violence every day. Their dependence on the steadfast power of God was good for us with much easier lives to see.

Just this past week, one of our team sent a text message on the group thread we’d created for our trip. It said, “Santos, Santos, Santos. Mi corazón te adora” (Holy, Holy, Holy. My heart adores you). Words from the song we sang that now bind us together as “living stones” and remind us of our calling. 

If you haven’t had a chance to take a mission trip, I highly recommend it. It will reshape your sense of value, mission, and purpose and remind you of what we are called to build together–God’s living temple.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* From Peterson, Eugene H., The Message Numbered Edition Hardback. Navpress. Kindle Edition.
** Paul Cedar, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 34: James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, p. 137.