“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, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. . . . But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10; emphases not in the original text)
Every baptized Orthodox Christian receives the Holy Spirit in and through the sacraments of baptism, chrismation and the Eucharist. How do we show that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives?
Each Orthodox Christian is called to be part of the holy priesthood. Priests in general consecrate things – to make them into an offering to God. In the Church, Bishops consecrate Chrism and men to serve as priests and deacons in the church. Priest in turn consecrate believers in baptism and also bread and wine to be shown to be the Body and Blood of Christ. But all believers share in a priesthood in which we each are to consecrate the things in our life – our homes, families, children, jobs, hobbies, meals, friendships, thoughts, words, feelings – everything great and little can be consecrated. We can make everything we do into a holy offering to God. The meals we cook, the things we build, or memorize, or sing, or think about – all can be consecrated, offered to God. If we think we can’t offer it to God, perhaps we shouldn’t be doing it. But what we choose to do, all of these things we should offer to God, consecrate them to God and for God’s own use so that God will deify them.
Everything we have is a gift from God including our lives, our possessions, our blessings, our talents, knowledge, wisdom, the work of our hands. So what can we offer to God that is truly our own? What is truly ours are our wills and our decisions. We can freely opt to co-operate with God. We can present ourselves to God in order to serve Him. Our free wills belong to us and we can work in synergy with God to accomplish God’s will. Thus every decision, the countless ones we make in our daily lives are each an opportunity for us to serve God – to offer that moment in our lives to God, to direct our energy toward God. Our choices are a true offering to God – not something God predetermines in our lives, but what we can freely offer to God. Our love is something we can choose to offer to God. It is something God truly values in us and from us.