But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 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. –1 Peter 2:9-10
I don’t know about you, but when I read that passage, the main thing that usually jumps out at me is God’s declarations of who I am as a follower of Jesus: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” There’s only one problem. The passage doesn’t say I am those things. It says the Church is. Though God saved me as an individual, he called me into a community. A major part of the inheritance we have with Christ as Christians is something we collectively participate in.
Growing up as an only child, this can be hard for me to grasp. But when we look at the rest of the passage, we begin to see why our community and partnership with one another is so important: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Peter is saying here that our identity as a community of people is vitally important in our sharing the gospel with the rest of the world. When God calls you to himself, he doesn’t call you to be alone. Just as there is community with God himself in the Trinity, the call he places on our lives (whatever our job may be) calls us to work alongside his Church as he builds his Church through us.
This is one of the most encouraging principles I have found as Riley and I have prepared for our move to New York City to start a new church. Spending seven years of your life anywhere will make it feel like home, and, as Vintage Church prayed over us and commissioned us out this past weekend, it felt like we were saying bye to our family. But… that’s not completely what happened. We didn’t say, “bye.” After two years of seeking the Lord together and discerning his will for our lives, you all simply said, “go.” While it was still difficult, it was not the end… only the start of a new chapter.
Pastor Rob Wilton was right when he shared, “Vintage is going to New York City!” Though you may not be packing your bags like we are right now, you are going with us. God has used your ministry in our lives to equip us, so that we together, whether in New Orleans, New York City, or anywhere else, “may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We can’t wait to see what God has in store for our future ministry and partnership together!
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