1 Peter 2:1-5, 9-10
1 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation- 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight, and 5 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.
9 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.
10 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.
Reflecting on what the church is can be quite interesting and tricky. Of course, there is the local church on the corner, and then the organization of churches within denominations, and even the whole number of churches around the world. But the New Testament writers, and Jesus himself, talk not much at all about these church buildings and the organization - the "institution" of the church. The images seem far more metaphorical, or mystical. Here, in 1 Peter we hear the urging that the members of the church be made into "living stones" which will be built into a spiritual house - and that all members will become a royal priesthood - the embodiment of God's people.
So, as enter the season of Advent in just a few days, it would do us well to ponder these things in our hearts, as Mary, too pondered what she had been told. How can we more fully be the living stones, built into a spiritual house for God and God's people?
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey