This has been sitting in the draft folder for a while now.
[Y]ou also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
[1 Peter 2:5 (NIV) Read the whole passage]
We live in a skeptical age. It’s not just that people don’t believe in God. Perhaps the bigger tragedy is that people don’t really believe in each other. Distrust is a favorite pastime, it seems. Distrust the government. Distrust between generations. Distrust of education. Distrust between economic classes. Distrust is our favorite little devil. This distrust is manifest in our inability to confront difficult matters and communicate differences. It’s just easier to walk out.
I see this all over our region. A man impregnates a woman while totally unprepared for fatherhood. Then he does a common childish thing: he walks out. I recently attended birth classes with my wife. There were 2 other men in the class, but 8 other women. Where were the other men? I see parents ‘walking out’ virtually on their kids’ health, while diseases of obesity take over our children’s futures. I see my home county leading the nation in Hepatitis B infections, way too high on the rankings for children born with addictions. We are walking out on each other while covering our eyes in self-righteousness. We blame the government, the school system, the younger generation…everyone but the church (well, we blame the preacher, but I digress). I believe that the moral struggles of our society are not the fault of the government or of popular culture…but a failure of the church. God sets us aside…not to live in a cocoon of self-righteousness, but to spread God’s righteousness…to participate in the redemption of the region. How exciting to be God’s hands and feet as nobodies become God’s most favored nation! This is the spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God: to put to death our low expectations, our navel-gazing and our negligence of our neighbors. What is gained is nothing short of the kingdom of God!
A “spiritual house” cannot be built unless each stone agrees to stick with the others. That often means giving up one’s own ambitions for the sake of the ‘house’. That means putting to death the culture of quitting that turns every disagreement into an excuse to walk out on God’s church. What God does with the church goes beyond the individual. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…” Let’s rebuild the bonds of trust. Let’s believe that God wants us to succeed and will bless our efforts. Let’s turn our attention to our suffering neighbors and begin loving them in ways that make real differences.