A good phrase evokes a beautiful image. So it is when I read the Apostle Peter’s words to dispersed Christians in the first century. “As you come to him.” (1 Peter 2:4) Given the context of this phrase, we can see the beauty of God’s saving work and the nature of his church.
We see Christ. He is the one to whom people turn. The eternal Son of God who became a man by birth to the virgin Mary is the one. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, who lived and died and was raised from the dead is the one. Jesus, Lord and Savior, full of grace and truth, slain lamb and good shepherd, open door and narrow gate is the one. The chosen and precious cornerstone on which the living stones of God’s grace are built up as a spiritual house is the one. God is in Christ calling the world to himself. He is the one we see.
We see people. People of all ages, races, abilities, and levels of human goodness and badness, come to Jesus. Many people, a vast multitude as many as the stars come to him. People from generations past have come to him, and people from generations future will come to him. God loves the people he created in his image. While we are still in the sin of rebellion, God showed his love by sending his Son to call us back to him. We see people coming to him.
We see the people coming to Christ becoming something beautiful. People trusting Christ are like stones of a temple built together into a dwelling where God lives and they worship. These stones and this temple are alive. The very presence of this temple in the world says there is a God of grace and glory who will receive all who come to his Son. They, too, will be added to the house of God and will give him glory as recipients of grace.
We see ourselves coming to Christ together as a congregation worshiping and witnessing in our city. We are kneeling before him, rising to follow him, dying in service to him, living to glorify him. We are humble, faithful, and true. We know we are here by grace. Our eyes now see our neighbors with love. We long for them to come to Jesus by the same drawing power which brought us to him. For this we pray and live.
One phrase, evoking many images, captures the Advent message. Christ came into the world that we might come to him.
This weekend, spend time reading I Peter 2 and praying for our worship and gathering on Sunday.