Black people are God's chosen people

Göttingen sermons

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Sermon for 1 Peter 2: 2-10, written by Eberhard Schwarz

2 Be eager for the sensible pure milk like the newborn children, so that through it you may increase for your salvation,
3 since you have tasted that the Lord is kind.
4 Come to him as the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious.
5 And you too, as living stones, build yourselves up into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices which are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.
6 That is why it is written in Scripture (Isaiah 28:16): “Behold, I am laying a chosen, precious cornerstone in Zion; and whoever believes in him shall not be put to shame. "
7 Now to you who believe it is precious; but for the unbelievers "is the stone which the builders rejected and which has become the cornerstone,
8 a stumbling block and a rock of offense ”(Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14); they stumble against him because they don't believe in the word, whatever they are meant to do.
9 But you are the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy people, the people of property, that you should proclaim the favors of him who called you from darkness to his marvelous light;
10 You who were once "not a people", but are now "God's people", and were once not in grace, but are now in grace (Hosea 2:25).

Are we expecting too little, dear congregation? Are we too frugal? Are we too undemanding about our life and its possibilities? Maybe.

There is this film satire "From the meaning of life" from the English comedian troupe 'Monty Pythons', in which the meaning offers of the West are targeted.

The final scene of the film is particularly tough. There is the TV presenter who, after all sorts of gossip, announces somewhat brusquely: “So, that's the end of the film, and here is the meaning of life.” And then a friendly assistant comes up and hands her a golden envelope. “Thank you Alexandra ".
Then she opens it like a business and reads it briefly and proclaims the meaning of life:
“Well, nothing special, actually. Try to be nice to others, avoid fatty foods, read a good book every now and then, get exercise, and try to live in peace and harmony with people of all nations and religions. Well, that's it - here's our theme song. Good night."

Are we expecting too little? Are we too frugal? Indeed - and good night - if that is it. This is too little.

And sometimes, when you start pondering, the question somehow surreptitiously arises: wasn't that really it?

Don't we really have our hands full with our physical health, with our emotional balance, with our work, with all the things that keep us halfway in balance throughout the week? And the rest are perhaps a few grandiose and fleeting ideas and a portion of fear and the noble endeavor to at least live in peace with the dear neighbor. We don't live in a world that, despite its - outwardly - ever greater diversity and confusion, is in reality flattened like a flounder and has shrunk to this world. In a world in which the great messages and events are hardly noticed in the Holy Scriptures, but - if at all - in the Guinness Book of Records?

How strange is what we hear this morning? Isn't it really overwhelming to read and hear what the 1st letter of Peter writes to the congregations, these - as he greets them at the entrance of the letter - chosen foreigners who live scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia and Bithynia - that is, in Asia Minor?

"You ... are the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy people, the people of property, that you should proclaim the benefits of him who called you from darkness to his marvelous light;"

The chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy people, the people of property!

Dear Congregation,
this is also written to us! Are we too frugal? Are we expecting too little? It really is like this: The prelude to this letter is a great song of praise to God and to the new dignity of the baptized. To people who experience themselves as a new Easter creation: on the move, in a new beginning. Just like the people of God in Egypt once set out from slavery to the land of the future. The letter speaks to people whose life began in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his great mercy, has reborn us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1,3). They are newly born in hope. He speaks to people who live from a force that affects their soul, their everyday life, their world, their self-image. Aren't we really such people ourselves?

If there is a central idea in this 1st letter of Peter, it is that we are not sacrificial existences for Christ's sake, but endowed with the dignity of God's children, that there are creative spaces: in the personal, in togetherness as a church, even in a society and a culture that follows completely different rules and regulations and laws. For the people in the great Roman Empire that spanned the ancient world, this was just as bold a message as it is for us today!

And if there is any evidence of this, then it is the concrete experience of these Christians: they tasted that the Lord is kind and that they have dignity in front of his eyes. And tasting, that can be taken sensually and literally - they were baptized, they ate at the gentleman's table. You have heard how a person rejected by the world has become the foundation, the cornerstone of a new understanding of life. They have learned that they themselves have their place in a special kind of community and in a story of promise.

Are we too frugal? Are we expecting too little? Do we hear the Easter symphony of life? Do we have any idea what forms and shapes of life are possible for liberated people and what is given to us?

Maybe we have to do an apprenticeship again. Perhaps, like the newborn children, we must once again appropriate the elementary reasons, these pictures and stories of the Nazarene, which paint before our eyes how it works: to love, to hope, to believe. This letter, which is written in the name of Peter and which theologically resides so close to the apostle Paul, this letter leads us on every step and steps back to the living stone, which is rejected by men, but chosen and precious by God. There are sentences that could appear in the Sermon on the Mount and words as if they came straight from Jesus' mouth: Do not retaliate evil with evil or reproach with reproach, but rather bless because you are called to inherit the blessing. (3,9) Isn't that freedom? Isn't that royal and priestly freedom at the same time when a person can act like this?

Are we expecting too little? "Don't tell me anything about freedom," I was told. And a few days later I read it too. A study entitled 'German Conditions' says that more and more people thought there was no real creative influence A quarter of our fellow citizens consider it pointless to get involved politically. The basic feeling is that of lone fighters. Is it us? I know it: Some even feel like lone fighters in the church.

One last time: are we expecting too little? Is it enough for us to be nice to others, avoid fatty foods, read a good book every now and then, and get enough exercise? Is it enough if we try as best we can to live in peace with everyone? Frankly, this is not a Paschal existence appropriate to life and hope.

In his lecture on the Letter to the Romans, Luther used a picture for this: If that was enough for whom, whoever did not use the freedom that God gave him, he was comparable to a boring cook who fiddled around with the preparation of the tray so sleepily that the food getting cold when you hang up: fade. Dull. Pathetic.

Dear Congregation,
Duncan MacDougall was a doctor from the American state of Massachusetts who, in 1907, tried to find out about the human soul by experimenting with a scale. He had a complicated special bed equipped with a weighing device built to determine the weight of people before and after their last sigh. After some back and forth, the provincial doctor determined something like an average of 21 grams, which is the weight of the soul. 21 grams !? No: that is not the weight of our vitality. That is not the weight of our dignity as a new people, as baptized, as people on the move.

Who we are? We are priests and we are kings, says the apostle. People who are precious to God; People to whom God has given a strong hold in the community of the hopeful. People whom God repeatedly leads out into the distance. Or to put it with Luther:

From all of this follows the conclusion: a Christian does not live in himself, but in Christ and his neighbor, in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. Through faith he passes over himself in God, out of God he passes among himself again through love and yet always remains in God and divine love, just as Christ John 1:51 says: “You will see heaven openly and the angels God ascends and descends upon the Son of man.
See, that is the right, spiritual, Christian freedom, which makes the heart free from all sins, laws and commandments, which exceeds all other freedom as heaven surpasses earth. God grant us to understand and keep this right! Amen."