But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…I Peter 2:9 KJV
Growing up, we often heard sermons that reminded us that, as Christians, we were peculiar. In my childish mind, I was certain that referred to the list of “thou shalt nots” that informed our somewhat insulated lifestyle. Not that we were ascetics, but we were different, maybe even peculiar.
To my unsophisticated thinking, those “differences” could be summed up in a list of activities that typically spilled over into social behaviors. Another synonym for “peculiar,” I thought, was “odd.” Yep, that’s what we were—odd. It took years into adulthood for me to see what Peter really meant when he described followers of Jesus as “peculiar.”
One of the online entries defining “peculiar” is “particular” and “special.” Now as I look out from my COVID shelter, I am thinking that God’s people really arepeculiar in the sense of unique and special. Physical, emotional, financial, political—you name it—stressors are surrounding us with no certain end in sight. Peter acknowledges the darkness that doesn’t seem to be vanishing. And yet, these peculiar people I know rejoice, have hope, encourage and reach out to others, trust, and persevere “as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27).
Our missions fellowship has a friend, Sunday, who came from Uganda to visit and make presentations at our churches. Sunday is the director of the Women’s Centre in northwest Nebbi and also the national facilitator of the Threads of Blessing micro enterprise ministry for women. Sunday came to spend three weeks with us at beginning of March and got here in time to be locked out of her own country. That was five months ago.
Sunday is one of those “peculiar” Christians. Instead of whining about being stranded and worrying about the three small children she left at home with relatives, she patiently has trusted God to use her for his purposes. She has quietly made small visits to mission supporters, made videos about her work, and spent weekends with our local feeding program. When asked about being stuck here all this time, Sunday flashes her broad smile and says, “It’s okay.” She trusts God with her family and with her time. She is odd.
And we all can be peculiar, too. We must seize this moment to glorify God through our trust, our love, our practical assistance, and whatever he would have us do and be. We are called for such a time as this.
Father, make us unique in the sense that we are your hands and feet, joyously anticipating how we may serve you by serving others. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.