“Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” ( I Peter 2:2- 3)
It is not a question – Is the Lord good? – but a statement of fact that the Lord God is good, and so therefore one should desire to learn of the Divine and grow into salvation.
What follows is a metaphor of Peter’s making. In seminary I studied this passage quite extensively – in Greek class I think. Because I remember chasing down all the possible paraphrases and interpretations of the Greek words in this passage. Or at least all of the pertinent ones; the articles and conjunctive words I spent less study time on, It was actually quite fascinating. I still remember standing in front of the class and presenting what my partner and I had discovered about the passage; its construction and the meanings of the words apart from the metaphor/analogy that Peter created. And how the meanings of the individual words came together to form the theological metaphor & analogy. It is, I think, during this time of study that I became enamored of the apostle Peter.
“Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and
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.
For it stands in scripture: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Verses 4 – 6)
The challenge of the class (and maybe it was not a Greek class, but biblical exegesis) was that the verse contained a verse from the Old Testament, so of course we had to study the Hebrew contained in Peter’s discourse. I remember having laid out my presentation (if you have heard this story before, beloved reader I apologize) on a series of passages, and planned to use each page to remind myself of what I wanted to say. But the pages got out of order, and instead I just . . . . spoke forth on what I had learned!
“To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” (Verses 7 – 8)
I honestly do not remember what it was that I learned during this study; what I mean is that now the passage lies so open to me and I understand it so fully, that I do not know anymore where my learning curve started and ended.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts 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.” (Verses 9 – 10)
Remember I said above that Peter makes the statement that the Lord God is good. He has taken a group of people who had little in common, and through a common faith (considering how diverse Christianity is now, this was quite a miracle) drew them together to be a cohesive believing group. Moreover, according to Peter, this faith has blessed them and gifted with with the Divine’s mercy. They have, according to Peter, grown into salvation. And as their faith continues and matures, more will be given to them.
That is, actually, quite a journey; from newborns in the faith to being a chosen race, royal and holy. Common ordinary people admitted to the priesthood. No longer anonymous souls, but God’s own. I have talked many times about the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews as a “called and chosen” people. Then it was an exclusive group. But now, NOW those who profess a true faith are God’s chosen. Jesus, through his ministry, called all people. Some, like Peter’s audience, answered that call and . . . . you read the results.
As we journey from the Easter event into Ordinary Time, may we remember that despite any outward appearance, we are the Lord God’s own. Selah!