These words from the Apostle Peter tell us that we are called to be living stones, a building of God's Spirit, a holy priesthood, a people called to live as God's people. The Bible also tells us that Jesus Christ is the "cornerstone"--the precious and sure foundation of our faith.
As we read the Bible, we learn that the Gospel challenges us to be people who follow Jesus as his disciples. The Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to love our neighbors as ourselves; to love even our enemies; to do good to those who hate us; to care for the lonely, the lost, and the left out. Such a challenge is by no means easy to live out, even when we do it together. So, we regularly we need to find refreshment along this challenging road of discipleship. We may not always know where the road will lead us or what difficulties we may encounter along the way, but we learn from the Gospel that following Jesus can only be done as a community together. It is in that experience of community where we discover that we are on holy ground with one another. And the holy ground of community reminds us that God has made us a holy people through Jesus Christ.
And we all need reminding of this truth that God has made us a holy people. It is so easy to take one another for granted. It is so easy to let our disappointment with someone or our anger at another distract us from this truth. Such distractions can lead us to treat each other superficially. If such superficiality becomes the norm, then our church life becomes narrow, limited to attendance out of habit and the mistaken belief that the totality of our Christian life is inside these church walls.
Peter tells us that "once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:10). In other words, before Christ came and called us into fellowship with one another, humanity was lost and left to its own devices. But now, in Christ, you and I have been made a holy people by the mercies of God.
You and I despite all that we fail to be and all that we fail to do, are the Church, and we are a precious, holy people in God's eyes.
I hope such news emboldens us to dream big dreams. I hope such news empowers us to serve others humbly. I hope such news encourages us to reach beyond all disagreements so we look not to our own interests, but to the mission of the church.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12).
What kind of church would we become if we all really took this call from God to be "living stones" heart?