There is an almost endless array of images and metaphors in the Bible. Some of them are more helpful than others, for example, some of the more rural metaphors can be difficult for urban folks to grasp.
The metaphor we worked with today is from St. Peter’s first letter and is building material, particularly stones. Peter tells his original recipients, and us, that as part of being in a relationship with God, through Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit we are “living stones.” He then unpacks the metaphor a bit more. He says we can let ourselves be built into “a spiritual house,” and also to be a “holy priesthood” which will allow us to offer acceptable “spiritual sacrifices” to God.
Peter’s group of original readers almost certainly included a high proportion of Jewish people. They would have immediately picked up on what was going on here. For observant Jews of the time the “spiritual house” could only be the temple in Jerusalem and the “holy priesthood” offering sacrifices would have been the ordained priests. Peter is saying there is no need for a geographical temple or a priesthood made up of men (only men) from particular tribes and families. This revolutionary message probably hit his first readers harder than it hits us but it still has profound implications for us.
Give the sermon a listen and let me know what you think.
There is only one sermon this week as I was not cleared to drive, post-cataract operation, in time to be able to drive to both churches. The service was entirely by Zoom from my home.