Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1–10
Key verse: (9) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Reflection: Do you feel connected these days? How has that connection changed in the last month and a half? Although we live in a “tech-connected” world, connection is something longed for these days. We can connect through Zoom, skype, FaceTime, texts, calls, even download and upload data and videos. But sometimes that is not enough.
Do you feel connected with God? This is a different kind of connection. A connection with God goes beyond social media posts or data transfers. Ancient cultures felt that humans were not worthy of divine connection. They would appoint certain individuals as spiritual advisors and shamans or priests, and these individuals would intercede on behalf of those in the community. The community needed someone to be the conduit for divine connection.
This idea changed when word came to Moses and the Israelites from Mt. Sinai: “If you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be to me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Upon Israel’s arrival at Mt. Sinai, Moses delivered this startling news from Yahweh. Not only was Yahweh declaring the nation’s chosen status, the Israelites, the chosen nation, were all being appointed to be priests … every one of them!
Priests are not clergy. Priests are not pastors or preachers. Clergy serve a particular function or service; pastors shepherd a community; preachers proclaim the word of God. In the Presbyterian Church USA, the ordained office of clergy is titled minister of Word and Sacrament — the service they fulfill to the community that appointed them. The priestly function, however, is one of bridge-building and connecting people to God.
You are a royal priesthood, as Peter claims, declaring praise of the One who called you from darkness into light. This is a present reality. You are a royal priesthood. God’s word has come to you not as a promise for the future but as a declaration of the present. Everyone is equally called to do God’s work and to minister to the people of God. How do you do that? This is the question we all need to consider for ourselves.
Prayer: God of the present, you have called us a chosen people, a royal priesthood, so that we may declare your praise. Give our lungs the breath of life to proclaim your Good News. Give our bodies the energy of your divine favor to work for your kingdom come, you will be done. By your grace we pray. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].