Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood… 1 Peter 2:4-5
When the resurrected Lord returned to His broken and dispirited disciples, He spoke peace to them and laid the foundation for the spiritual house of His church. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And then – catch the drama, remember the torn veil – He breathed His first! “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…’” (John 20:21-23).
How routinely we ask God to bless our particular church! Perhaps we half expect Him to stop by Saturday night and touch the building with a kosher magic wand. Even so, all sorts of stony-faced or half-hearted people still show up Sunday after Sunday and stiffly go through the motions of a “Churchianity” that can never fully satisfy. God does not routinely breathe new life into timeworn institutions. He breathes Christ into broken individuals. The Holy Spirit joins living stone to living stone until we function “as the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: Satan is no gentleman who grants exit visas from his dark kingdom. As Ephesians 6:12 warns, we don’t “contend against flesh and blood, but against…the world rulers of this present darkness.”. After my writing stints in the desert, I did have a manuscript and the help of a pastor in finding a publisher. Rather than excitement, I felt bereft of the intimate fellowship I enjoyed with my triune God during the many weeks of solitude. Just then I came across a request for help with housekeeping in a Hollywood residence that offered emergency shelter to battered women. While scrubbing a toilet there, a surprise Swiss visitor came to chat with me. Next thing I knew, I was asked to lead Bible studies. A runaway girl stole my heart and after decades of friendship, we’re still dealing with some fallout of a potent curse placed on her by an abusive Muslim father. An emigrant from Sierra Leon, he had settled in Texas. Amina, meaning “trustworthy” in Arabic, came to live in my home for 6 months and I helped her getting a green card, a job and a car. Things went downhill after she married an African who schemed to ride the coattail of her U.S. citizenship. Against my counsel, she moved east to reconnect with her mother and sisters, who put her through hellish times. Amina lives peacefully by herself now and sends me funny dog cards signed, “Your grateful sister in Christ.” But even last year she battled a brief bout with fear connected to her father’s curse. So, I keep sharing Scriptures that declare her free of any darkness because the Light of the World vanquished it on the cross. Assuredly, Christ breathes new life into every kind of brokenness. Therefore, we are all prone to “leaks” that would have the Adversary mock our “solid” Christianity. As living stones connecting daily to Him who called us into a holy priesthood, we prevail by standing on the bedrock of His sovereign faithfulness. 1 Peter 2