Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
1 Peter 2:1-10
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
2 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5 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. 6 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.”
7 To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”
“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
10 Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
This passage of scripture from 1 Peter is full of insights. First, there is the exhortation to “rid yourselves of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.” Then, the invitation to come to Jesus, who is the cornerstone of the house of faith. And finally, a beautiful affirmation of who we are by God’s grace: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
I used to get the question a lot: “Where’d your people come from?” Or if I happened to meet someone in my hometown, the question might be, “Now who are your people?” It has been years since anyone asked me that question. Does anyone ever ask you about “your people?” 1 Peter has an answer.
For years, we have ended every sanctuary worship service with the same responsive benediction that begins with a question: Our gathering will soon be ended. Where will we go and what will we do?
The congregation responds: We will go out to be God’s people in the world.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster