My wife and I are commonly known as “the Bees.” This moniker is not due to our honey-sweet disposition, or any stinging rhetoric we may employ. Rather it is a simplified rendering of an incredibly long last name. We are rarely called “the Bassingthwaightes,” for obvious reasons. However, being known as “the Bees” has led to our house being filled with bumble bee ornaments, tea towels, wall hangings, etc. Anyone walking into our home gets the connection – we are “the Bees”.
In this season of this blog, we are talking about the calling of the church. In this post I want to briefly remind us of our identity. To live out our calling we must know who we are, or maybe more aptly, whose we are. In 1 Peter 2 we read these words:
“…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” (vv:9-10 NLT)
While much could be said about these verses, suffice it to say, they are a much-needed reminder that we are God’s people, designed to demonstrate his goodness. That is our identity. We are not first and foremost Canadians. We are not defined primarily by our jobs. Our earthly family of origin, as important as it is, doesn’t prescribe who we are as children of God. As people who have died to self and now live out the life of Jesus, while earthly realities remain; they are redefined within the framework of new creation.
We are God’s people. United together as one. A new family. Showing mercy to one another. Living out God’s good design for human life and flourishing. We are living images of Christ.
You will notice I have used similar language to Peter. I’m describing a reality that isn’t fully realized yet. When God rolls up saying “Bring out your dead,” my old self could say, “I’m not dead yet.” I need help.
Most of us, as good North American individualists think this is an individual problem with an individual solution – God’s Spirit at work in my (singular) life. This is necessary! But it also misses Peter’s point. Just like “The Bees” aren’t an individual, Peter is talking about our identity together – with one another. What if we took Peter’s cue and deepened the mercy sharing? Isn’t that practicing the “one anothers” of the New Testament? What if our “bumble bee paraphernalia” on display was mercy so over the top, that no one could miss the connection? Isn’t that who we are to be?
ServeCanada Director & Interim Prayer Catalyst