Friday, July 26, 2013

Like living stones

1 Peter 2:4-6
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”

I have always admired those who have a "knack" for building.  I am told those people have a mental picture of the structure and how it will look, long before the foundation is laid and the framework begins. Things built are usually built to last, withstand strong storms, face other elements of nature, and be useful for a lifetime. 

Maybe it's because of my admiration of builders that I can grasp the illustrative language of Peter as he describes Jesus as the living Stone which has been chosen by God, and then lets us know that we too, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house. 

That picture we get of the living Stone and us being like living stones making a spiritual house, is Peter's way of describing the church. Any good builder will tell you the most important thing to get right when building a structure, is the foundation, and often times, the corner stone. Lots of work goes into making sure the measurements are correct as the entire building is laid out on the basis of having that corner stone exact and strong, because every other aspect of the building is based on the corner stone.

So Peter is on the right track when he calls Jesus the living Stone, the perfect stone to which we, like living stones, can be connected together in building a spiritual house, the church.  Notice also the tense in which the description of the building takes place. Peter says, "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house."  That tells me the process of building the church is a ongoing thing as new living stones are produced.

Now a warning.  We have become a people that place a lot of emphasis on our church buildings. When we construct a beautiful structure and think of that as the church, we are missing Peter's instruction. The brick and wood, the windows and the roof, the sign and the lobby......those things are not the church. 

In every instance in Scripture where the church is mentioned, it refers to people, and not a physical building. Let me be clear and say when we build a structure in which to worship, and even have a special service to dedicate that building to God and the work of his people in the community, that is a wonderful gesture, but God's church is still not that building, it's the people.

We find no argument that anyone other than Jesus can be that living Stone. By virtue of who he is and especially what he accomplished at Calvary, only he can be that living stone. Your place is in the part where you share in becoming a living stone and being added to the spiritual house, the church. 


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