Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be 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, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:4-9)
It is St. Peter who tells all of Christians to be a holy priesthood and who says we are a royal priesthood. It is where we get the notion of the priesthood of all believers. So how can we all be priests? We can do with our lives what priests do in the Liturgy.
We can make everything and anything we do an offering to God. Each of us offers to God daily whatever it is we do in our lives…
Whatever we think
Whatever we say
Whatever we do
These are our offerings to God. If we remember that every moment of our life is an offering to God and stay consciously aware of this, we can actually transfigure all we do into something holy. Our “Christian” life is not opposed to our daily or secular life. We have only one life we live. Every aspect of our lives – what we do in our bedrooms, in our living rooms, in our kitchens as well as our workshops and garages – becomes our offering to God. We can transform any minute and every minute into prayer and into a spiritual sacrifice. The spiritual sacrifice is what St. Peter tells us we are to offer to God. This is not some ritual act, but rather we turn everything we do into prayer and an offering to God.
In today’s Epistle (Galatians 6:11-16), we hear the words: “what counts is a new creation.” That is what we are trying to do. We come to church and see the icons, these are people, scenes and events transfigured by God into holy events and holy people. We come here and experience bread and wine transfigured into the Body and Blood of Christ. We come here as individuals and are transformed by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, God’s own church.
What we experience here, we can do in our own homes and lives as God’s priests. We can transfigure and transform every moment into an iconic moment. The icons shouldn’t just be on the walls of the church, we can make our lives iconic . In fact we are each an icon of God – we each are created in God’s image (icon) [Genesis 1:26-27]. When we live as Christians, when we live in God’s likeness, we make each moment and each event iconic because we make God’s image present in us.
“For God so loved the world…” (John 3 – today’s Gospel) –
Fr. Schmemann points out it is this world God loves. It is this life God loves. No other.
This world and this life are to be communion with God. God offers this to us, but we can also strive to make it so.
It is this world where there are hurricanes, and earthquakes and war and political strife and financial struggle – this is the very world into which Christ became incarnate. He chose to enter into this world because of His love for us.
Mt. Saint Helens Volcano
There is something about this world which God loves and is not willing to give up on . He wants to transform this world, not replace it with some other world.
God loves this world
God wishes to save this world
God can transfigure this world.
Even with all the problems of this world – natural disasters, human made disasters, sin, evil, human hubris, God still loves this world because He sees the goodness in it and He still sees His image in us! God has entered into this world and share our human nature because God loves us and this world.
We can cooperate with God by being God’s priests and transforming our lives and what we do into a daily spiritual offering to God. We can make ourselves image bearers of God and can make our lives, our homes, our time on earth to be iconic and to reveal the presence of God to everyone.