March 21, 2018
By Rev. Dr. Brian Suk-Boo Lee, Artesia-Cerritos UMC, West District
1 Peter 2:9
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.
Sometimes, I am asked this question when I meet certain people, ‘‘Are you a Korean or a Chinese?” I answer, “I am a Korean-American.” Some reply, “Ah! You are a Korean.” I am challenged by their responses about my identity. Then, I ask myself, “Who am I?” That question includes many meanings: “Who do I belong to?” and “Where am I from?”
In this Lenten season, I would like to say, “I am a Christian. I am one of God’s people.” I belong to God and Jesus Christ because Peter identifies that for me, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” in 1 Peter 2:9. “Race” (NRSV), “people” (NIV), or “generation” (KJV) is translated from the Greek noun genos, “a social group claiming common descent, referred to by a single name” according to Wikipedia. Then, Peter says, “God’s own people.” This contains two ideas: (1) we belong to God, and (2) we belong to others who are part of God’s people.
What should we do as God’s own people? The answer is here: “… in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9b). Our purpose is to offer praises to God who has called and saved us from darkness to light!
What about you? Do you belong to God as God’s own people – a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy Nation? Do you also belong to one another? We are gathered and bound together from out of the darkness into God’s marvelous light. Praise the Lord!
We are God’s people. Jesus shows us the way to live as God’s chosen people through His spiritual journey in our lives. I understand that Peter does not mention anything about geographically bound region and ethnicity. Peter is talking about something that extends beyond a politically governed territory.
As God’s own people, we learn that this has nothing to do with the color of our skin, the color of our hair, the color of our eyes, the language we speak, or any other aspect of our ethnic backgrounds. It has to do with the love of God, the relationship with Jesus Christ, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This Lenten season is to draw us closer in our relationship with God and our Savior.
Through our daily Lenten spiritual journey with Jesus, we examine the need for each one of us to give up these places of darkness and be changed as God’s own people to be made holy. It is not something we can do on our own. However, we can transform and change ourselves with the grace of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
In this Lenten season, let us consider what we need to transform our lives, what we need to experience to be more like Christ, and what we need to do new into Easter season as the chosen people of God. We are blessed because we are God’s own people!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for calling us as your own people. Continue to bless us to remember your marvelous light, praise your grace, and share your love with one another. Amen.