“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” (1 Peter 2:9)

In our Gospel reading from John 14, we saw how Jesus encouraged His followers with the assurance of union with Him both in this life and for eternity. This same assurance is what the Apostle Peter passed on to his disciples, and to us as well. The Christians he wrote to were undergoing persecution from the leaders of the Jews as well as their Roman neighbors. In the midst of such persecution they needed to hold firmly to the pure truth of the gospel that had been preached to them, salvation by faith in Jesus alone. To abandon this and turn back to follow the Law of Moses would be disaster. They needed to be reminded that the chosen people are no longer the Jewish nation or the physical descendants of Abraham, but the church. To go back would be a rejection of God’s mercy.

The words of Peter remind we who are members of the body of Christ that we, not a physical building, are the Temple of the Lord. This is of great comfort to us in this time of social distancing when believers are not able to meet together face to face. Although we love to meet as a community in our church building, we can take comfort in the truth that God is not confined to one specific place. Even when we are apart from our Christian brethren, He dwells within His people providing comfort, wisdom, strength and unity.

In addition, through His people, God walks around in the midst of fallen humanity offering truth, love, compassion and mercy to all. We who have received such mercy must surrender ourselves to Him and extend that mercy to all no matter their race, language or nation of origin so the light of Christ would shine into their hearts.