In my sermon preparation this week, I’ve been reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the Christian philosopher and author Dallas Willard:
Conveniently, today’s Old Testament lesson (Exodus 19:1-16) underscores this truth:
Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (vs. 3-6)
Naturally, there’s a lot that goes into becoming that “kingdom of priests” (or “all-inclusive community of loving persons”). So many of the things that we often think of as being the “point” of our sacred pursuits — worship, evangelism, study of the scriptures, and so on — are essential elements in the life that makes it possible for us to reach this greater goal. And yet, unless we keep this true aim in mind, we’re all-too-easily convinced that the focus of our spiritual life is meant to be “me and God.” We devote ourselves to my growth, my prayers, my ministry — which are all vital, to be sure — but which can never come to full fruition unless they’re conformed to the mind of Christ, which the Bible describes as “looking not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
So, here’s my question for today: What are we doing (or could we do) to put our spiritual life (our knowledge, our gifts, our time, our resources) at the service of that “all-inclusive community of loving persons” through which we find our true calling and in which God will one day dwell?
May all of our attitudes and actions today be the ministrations of “kingdom priests,” who stand between a holy God and a hurting world and point them to the One Mediator who alone can make them whole.