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.
- I Peter 2:9
The Statue of Liberty is one on the great symbols of our country, reminding us of many important aspects of our self-image as a nation - our creation of a land of freedom and opportunity, our deeply rooted belief that all are created equal, our success and strength as the "great melting pot." But it's always struck me that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from another county - that we didn't build it in celebration of the things we hold dear, but someone else gave it to us because of how they see us. So, in many ways, the Statue of Liberty is a reminder of how others view us as a nation - as a "city on a hill," a "beacon" to show the world what a nation can be. And I believe this can inspire us to strive to live up to that vision of us and be the best we can be.In "pastor talk," we use the terms "internal" and "external calls." An "internal call" is that small voice inside of you that gives you the conviction that you should be a pastor. An "external call" is the voice of someone you respect and admire who says, "You know, you have the gifts and abilities to be a good pastor." Both are important, but I've always valued how the "external call" from someone can see something in you that you may not have seen yourself, causing you to strive to improve and aspire to be even better. In the passage above from First Peter, we hear God's "external call" to us - calling us a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people." Even when we don't feel it or think we're deserving, this is how God sees us - that we are special and precious in God's sight. And not only that, but we are also entrusted by God with an important task, namely, "in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."And in this challenging time that we find ourselves in, I think the world could definitely use some of this "marvelous light." And even though we may be unsure if we're up for the task, God has seen something in us that we may not have even seen ourselves, which can inspire us to strive to live into that vision of us. So when scarcity makes selfishness rise up, we can rise above it with generosity. When separation leads to isolation, we can find new ways to reach out and stay connected. When people around us are battered by the turbulence of uncertainty, we can steady them with our calm and patient presence. When the forces around us try to divide us and tear us apart, we can remember our commonalities - that we are all in this together, and that the only way to get through it is by working together.This doesn't mean it's easy, and we can still find ourselves getting caught up in the anxiety of the age. But thankfully we have a lady standing in the harbor, reminding us of how others see us. May she always inspire us to strive to be who we are called to be.
-- Pastor Micah