In our Life Group we are looking closely at I Peter. Last night we studied I Peter 1:22 – 2:10. We spent most of our time talking about the metaphor that Peter uses of God “buliding a spiritual house” using us “living stones” for substance to form the structure.
It got me to thinking about our behavior as Western Christians. We all know that what we truly believe (and not just what we pay lip service to) is modeled in our behaviors. For example: A materialist is someone who believes that “things” are ultimately important. Now, I might pay lip service to the fact that “things” aren’t important. I might say “Only food, water, clothes, and shelter are important – and God.” But when I sacrifice my savings and my offering for a new set of golfclubs, then my behaviors betray what I pay lip service to!
And we Western Christians pay lip service to this: “The Church is not the steeple – it’s the people.” But what do our behaviors say? What do we say when we put on our holy attitudes only on Sunday? What do we say when we are reverent only inside the four walls of the church? What do we say when we sing songs to Jesus on Sunday and ridicule others on Monday? What do we say when we nod our heads in agreement with the Sunday sermon, and shake our heads “no” to someone in need on Thursday? What do we say when we pass by someone on the way to “church” who is stranded, because we “can’t be late!”? What do we really mean when we say “I’m going to church!”?
I think Peter’s appeal is for us to BE a holy nation – for us to BE a royal priesthood – for us to BE God’s chosen people – for us to BE a people who belong to God. And I think his appeal tear’s down our cultural assumptions about church that we cling to nearly 2000 years later!
But I want to end this thought today with a question – one that I myself am unable to adequately answer right now (which is why I ask you – for help!) Why is it that we cling to the idea of “church as place” rather than “church as people?” Why is it so hard for us to let go of this?