November 27, 2019
"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" (1 Peter 2:5). My wife's family has a tradition of making candy houses each year at Thanksgiving. My father-in-law prefabricates the structure of each house using graham crackers for the walls and roof, but the rest of the decorative work is left up to the children and children-at-heart who then use icing to glue their candies onto the plain frames. In the hands of these artists, tiny cinnamon candies turn into Christmas lights along the eaves of the houses. Yogurt-covered pretzels hang like wreathes on the walls. Gumdrops turn into bushes in the yard, and miniature candy-canes become railings or sled runners. Before long, each piece of candy that we've resisted eating has been arranged creatively to create holiday scenes that are both amusing and appetizing.
We repeat this activity each year not just because some of us like candy. It's the combination of joyful fellowship and creative playfulness that keeps the tradition alive, and I think this gives us an insight into God's character. In 1 Peter 2, Peter imagines us as stones that God has built together into a house or temple. Lest we think these stones are merely functional or plain, Peter says that we are each "a living stone . . . chosen and precious in God's sight" (v. 4). God doesn't just use whatever rocks happen to be lying around. He lovingly chooses each one of us and carefully places us in a community of other believers, making a work of art out of our unique gifts and differences. This is why Paul, when using a similar image of a stone temple in Ephesians 2, says that we are God's "masterpiece" (v. 10 NLT). God shows his creativity through the fellowship of his children, and just as a family might delight to build candy houses together, God delights in gathering people together to build his Church. Together, may we become a work of art that "proclaims the mighty acts of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Grace and Peace,