Summary: how we are to be church in this broken world
A Vision for Church
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:9-12
Church – l love the biblical vision of church Peter used– chosen, royal priesthood, holy nation belonging to God. It was not original to Peter. The OT in Exodus and Deut used those words, telling the story of a good and glorious God, who delivered a people from bondage to be a blessing to the world. Peter was excited to see how these words are now a reality in the NT. So he says - Once we were not a people, now you are the people of God says the Bible! We are the people... We are the people from the Plan A of God’s playbook. It was always His plan that we are the people, to deliver us to be a people like it was in the Exodus but how are we to be a people?
Tell a story, that been imprinted burned into my heart, always remember. In chapter one of his book the Kingdom of God is a party, Tony Campolo, who was recently at Vancouver’s Missionsfest , told a story about how he was jetlagged in Honolulu. At 3:30 in the morning he was walking up and downs streets to look for a place to eat. Found a sleazy place still open, went in, when suddenly door of the diner swung open. To his discomfort, 8 or 9 prostitutes, marched in. Small place, they sat around. Talk was loud and crude, felt out of place, then overheard the woman sitting beside him say “tomorrow’s my b’day, going to be 30”
Her so-called friend responded nastily “So what daya want from me? A b’day party? A cake sing Happy B’day?”
“C’mon” said the woman next to him. “Why so mean, just telling you, that’s all. Why have to put me down? I don’t want anything from you, why would u give me b’day party? Never had one whole life, why should I have one now? Campolo heard all that, after the women left, called over to the guy behind the counter – “do they come in here every night?” “Yeah”
“One next to me, odes she come here every nite?” “Yeah, that’s Agnes, why daya wanna know?” “Because I heard her say tomorrow her b’day, what do you say that you and I throw b’day party for her –right here tomorrow night?”
That’s great! Great idea! Harry, counter guy called to his wife, told her about the plan, she said, “That’s wonderful, You know Agnes is really nice and kind, nobody ever does anything nice and kind for her.”
Next morning at 2:30 am, Campolo back at the diner, armed with decorations, made diner looked good. The word got out on the street by 3:15 am every prostitute in Honolulu was in the diner, wall to wall prostitutes and Campolo.
At 3:30am Agnes and friend swung door open, and screamed at top of lungs, “Happy B’day”
Campolo said “Never have I seen a person so flabbergasted... so stunned... so shaken. As she was led to counter, they all sang b’day song, end of song, you can tell she was barely holding in tears. When b’day cake came out with the candles, she lost it and sobbed openly.
Harry, counter guy, gruffly mumbled, “Blow out the candles, Agnes! Come on! Blow or I’ll hafta do it” Seconds later than seem like minutes, Harry blew out the candles , then hand her a knife “cut the cake agnes, we all want some cake”
Agnes looked down at the cake. “Look Harry if it’s alright with u ... keep the cake a while, not eat it right away. “Sure, it’s ok if keep cake, keep it”
“Can I” she just wanted to take it home, down the street. She got off her stool picked up cake like it was the holy grail walked slowly to the door and she left.
Stunned silence in the diner.
Campolo: “Not knowing what else to do I broke the silence by saying ‘what do you say we pray’?”
3:30 in morning here was leading a prayer meeting with bunch of prostitutes, in a diner in Honolulu. Felt right thing to do, prayed for Agnes, her salvation, life changed, God bless her.