But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  -1 Peter 2:9

In my social psychology class, we have been discussing who we are as people based on the groups we associate ourselves with. Think about how many group categories you fall under throughout the course of one day. There are so many possibilities–a college student, a classmate, a roommate, a significant other, an athlete, a hipster (a category I unfortunately fall under according to my friends,) a daughter, a brother–the list goes on and on. And we happily accept these roles in society without questioning them. Why wouldn’t we? We are conditioned to be this way by the world around us. It is in no way always a bad thing, but as we get older, identification by category becomes a little more dangerous. By the time we get to high school, it’s pounded into our brains that we must “get involved!” Join clubs, play sports, be a theater kid, be a band nerd! The circles we joined shaped us, and often defined who we were as teenage members of society. Sadly, we all remember these days, and it would be naïve to believe that this mentality doesn’t continue into college and throughout the course of our lives. I think it ultimately boils down to acceptance. We all want to belong with our fellow human beings and to feel like we’re understood. And who better to understand us than those who are the most like us?  It’s a simple idea, but one we tend to overlook.

You can ask anyone I am even remotely acquainted with, I am an advocate of individualism. I will whip out my soapbox and preach all day on this subject, because I truly believe group identification will be the death of our generation. We pride ourselves on being the age of acceptance, but our system of recognition causes much more disconnect than we realize.  But okay, I will cut myself off here, because believe it or not, that’s not what this post is about.

 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

I don’t know about you, but when I read this verse, I just feel good inside. I feel like I’m being spoken to directly, like I matter; I have a purpose in this life. I see encouragement to a young generation. But most importantly, when I read this verse I see nothing but group language! “A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”

But I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the only situation in which I am okay with that. I want nothing more than to be God’s special possession, and I think my fellow youth in the Orthodox Church would agree with me. I guess what this ramble comes down to, is that this–the chosen generation–is the group we as the young people of the Orthodox Church should define ourselves by. All of my pride in my individualism seems so ridiculous in comparison, because this is the only category that matters and we must nurture it. After all, our peers are the ones we will journey through life with. It sounds cliché, but we honestly are the future. We are the future priests, deacons, and parishioners who will take care of the Church, and the more we support, encourage, and love one another, the better equipped we are to journey through the faith alongside our fellow Christians. And now is the best time to invest in relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our fellow group members, because we are young. The friendships we form now will stay with us for life. So, I guess what I’m saying is, let’s whole-heartedly embrace this group, this category that is the youth of Orthodox Christianity. Let’s rejoice in the fact that we have each other to fall back on, and most importantly, we have a job to do together– to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are God’s special possession. And that’s about as good as it gets.