Thursday, June 20, 2013

We are living stones

"As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:4-5)

We're living stones, being built up into a spiritual house...

I grew up in New England. When the farmers cleared the field, they dug up a lot of rocks. Rocks, rocks, everywhere. What to do with the rocks? Make a border wall out of them.

Our house was a small Cape Cod, a 100 year old cottage. The front of our house had a very long rock wall of old rocks that had been unearthed from the fields. By the 1960s the wall was falling down and it needed to be rebuilt

My father hired two old Italian guys to rebuild the wall. Italians have been masons and laying rock for thousands of years. The Appian Way is one of the world's oldest paved roads, and it is still there, and works. Though the Italians invented cement, in our case, the wall wasn't set with mortar or cement. It is the nestling of just the right rock next to each other, the pressure exerted of the whole structure, and gravity that keeps them all in place. (Photo, Appian Way, Wikimedia Commons)

The old guys had the rocks strewn all around. One of them would pick up a rock and test it, and look at it closely, turning it over and over. Feeling it all around with his hands, brushing off the sand and dirt, he'd put it next to the rock on the wall, and see if it fit. Nope. He'd pull it out and talk to the other Italian guy for a while, and after some talk, and laughter, taking their time, he would pick up another rock, and test it all over again.

Gradually, slowly, the wall took shape. Long and straight, it stands to this day.

In reading that verse last night at church, the picture of the old Italian guys came to my mind. I envisioned Jesus and the Holy Spirit, calmly and precisely talking, working together in perfect unity, laughing and admiring the work each was doing. Jesus saying to the Spirit, "draw that one over there to Me, I'm ready for Him... put that one here and this one next to it, ah, perfect fit..." The spiritual house is being built, in His timing, constructed to last forever, with us as the living stones. His precision is straight and true. As well as Potter and carpenter, I guess we can add Stone Mason to His construction skills, couldn't we.

He is the Rock, the Chief Cornerstone...

"As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces." (Daniel 2:35)

"For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”" (1 Peter 2:6).

He is the chief cornerstone, but having the Spirit in us, our souls are so intimately tied with Him that we also are stones. Little stones from the Rock. And here comes the pun: we are chips off the old block.

Bishop of Lincoln Robert Sanderson is said to have said it first in a 1637 sermon:
"Am not I a child of the same Adam ... a chip of the same block, with him?"

We are of Adam, but our precious Lord didn't leave us on the stone quarry floor. He picked us up, adopted us, polished us, built us up "to be a holy priesthood," and set us in His spiritual House. Praise His merciful name, His grace is so generous!

3 comments:

  1. What a cool illustration. Thanks for that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You always are uplifting, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Anonymous, glad you're blessed. The Lord is such a balm to our souls, isn't He!

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"What does this verse mean to you?" Not manifold meanings, but one

"What does this verse mean to you?" is a phrase oft-heard at Bible Study groups and the like. It suggests that Bible verses and ...