Reflection 051020 May 10, 2020
1 Peter 2:2-10/ John 14:1-14
The Ordinary Chosen for the Extraordinary
Today’s confession about myself is that I am an early childhood educator who is bad at arts and crafts; I have little artistic talent, which was my biggest weakness as a teacher. I do love looking at beautiful things, such as pieces of art, but I just have to admire those with talent. However, what amazes me about the world of arts or arts and crafts is not the greatest paintings of Van Gogh or Monet. It’s how a lot of artistically talented people create either artistic or useful things with garbage, recyclable materials. Have you ever seen art works created with used can lids or soda bottles? They are amazing. In the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory based on the children’s book of the same title, young Charlie collects deformed and useless toothpaste lids from his father’s toothpaste factory and builds a model of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. All these examples teach us that seemingly useless things can become useful.
In today’s reading in 1 Peter chapter 2, Jesus is compared to a stone that is rejected but was chosen by God. Also, we, his followers are living stones used to build a spiritual house. The drink bottles we throw out afterwards are used by some talented artist to create something beautiful or useful. Likewise, we ordinary people with both strengths and weaknesses can do something extraordinary at the hand of God. Listen to 1 Peter 2:9; we are God’s special and chosen people, royal priests and a holy nation. We are all called to be a holy nation and the priests of God. This “holy nation” is the kingdom (or reign) of God that Jesus preached. Remember the miserable bunch of ordinary people that Jesus chose to be his apostles. Remember what these ordinary people were able to do after receiving the Holy Spirit. But this story will have to wait till the Season of Pentecost… Spoilers!
Now, how do ordinary people with a lot of flaws become God’s holy priests and chosen citizens of God’s kingdom? Hint; being ordained is not the answer! In John chapter 14, Jesus is in the middle of bestowing his last teachings before his arrest and death. He must have been worried about how his disciples would do after he leaves them. They are still quite clueless about the ways of God’s reign. Nevertheless, they have an advantage over anyone else; they learned from the incarnated God himself. Jesus understood God better than anyone (hence being recognized as God in human form). That is why he is the way to God. We learn from his gospel about God’s kingdom and our “job description” as his disciples, and we are told that we are ordinary people chosen to do extraordinary things, if we are led by Jesus.
It is not unlike how an ordinary woman becomes extraordinary because she became a mother. Those of you who are mothers or have raised a child would know that being a parent can make you do unthinkable things. On this Mother’s Day, I want you to pat yourselves on the back at the extraordinary job you have done raising your children. Even though your children may not have turned out as perfectly as you wished them to be, it does not change the fact that you have done a great job. As for me, the only parenting experience I get is when I go visit my children one week at a time, and one week is still overwhelming! I cannot even imagine doing that job every single day for a lot of years!
This is what it means to be chosen as a holy nation and priests; we are chosen to care for God’s people like a mother cares for her children. Therefore, by learning the message of our universal priesthood, let us remember our responsibility for God’s children, especially the vulnerable ones, and trust God to turn us ordinary people into extraordinary people of God. Let us trust the teachings and spirit of Jesus to be our way and guide to God’s way of life.