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Friday, April 9

Welcome to our BONUS POST-EASTER WEEK of Daily Devotions!
Our last devotion for this year will be this coming Saturday.

1Peter 2:4-10 (NRSV)
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Growing up, each Sunday after attending church our conversation at the dinner table involved two topics: the size of church attendance that day and how well the choir sang. The few times we mentioned the sermon usually ended up in a family argument. I often wondered why we just spent hours at church but had so little to say at dinner?  In truth, God was transforming us from observers of religion to participants, a holy priesthood.

God stressed the need for a church because we cannot be effective as a lone-wolf Christian. By belonging to a faith community, we learn from other members the teachings of Christ. We feel accepted despite our faults. We witness the collective actions we take to maintain our physical building and church activities within its walls; from the detailed acts of arranging flowers on the alter to reflecting on sermons and Bible studies. Combined, these actions give us the confidence to spread the word of God and serve as his example. In other words, being elevated as priests.

This is not just a part-time job! In 1Peter 2:5 Peter notes we are to offer spiritual sacrifices. Yes, we worship God, pray, and give our financial offerings. But we should also give our total selves to serving him in our daily lives and be an ongoing sacrifice to honor him.

And of all the things to use, Peter refers to a stone, an inanimate object to make his point. However, it gives me a great visual of us as building blocks, living stones (1Peter 2: 5), relying on each other for support with God as the cornerstone to give us strength and purpose.

The pastor of the church where I was raised in Baltimore got many requests to host weddings from people outside our congregation because our sanctuary was very ornate with a long isle leading up to the alter. I think the outsiders missed the true foundation of our church.

Heavenly Father, we are broken rocks in a fallen world. Help us to know we are precious in your sight. Bring us together as living stones to lift each other up to serve and honor you. And turn us into spiritual sacrifices to reflect your image in our day-to-day life.  Amen.

Jack Hess