There’s this great line in 1 Peter where Peter is reminding Christians that they are a part of something larger than themselves.
They belong to the Christian community.
He writes these words to them,
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
Chosen, royal, holy. God’s special possession. These are great descriptors of the community of people God has called together around the life of Jesus and given an identity in him.
I like the way the old King James describes it. In that translation, we’re told that this community God has called together is “a peculiar people.”
I suppose that’s probably true in more ways than one! However, what I think it means is that God has formed together this community around Jesus that is meant to stand out in some very good ways in a world that is hungry and searching for authentic expressions of community. In a world with so many expressions of broken community, the church is called to be peculiar…different… a community centered around the redemptive love of God in Christ where people know and are known, love and are loved, serve and are served, celebrate and are celebrated.
Now, I am the first to confess we don’t always get that right. Sometimes our community, at times, can seem just as broken as any other. But, over a lifetime of belonging to a local church, I still really believe in the good and beautiful community that God has called together. I believe in the gathering of the saints. I believe in the holiness of God’s church. I believe we (and the whole world) needs a community of people committed to loving and treating each other the way God in Christ treated us.
I hope you’ll choose to be an active, contributing part of one of the local expressions of the Body of Christ wherever you are this year. I believe belonging to this “peculiar” community is one of the most life-transforming decisions you can make.
Written by Erik Gernand