Lectionary reading for 3/4/2021: Psalm 19; Exodus 19:1-9a; 1 Peter 2:4-10
Selected passage for reflection: 1 Peter 2:4-10 (ESV)
1 Peter 2:4-10
4As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5you 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. 6For 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.”
7So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
8and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The foundation of any building structure is carefully planned and designed by the architect. It is given important attention, because the foundation will determine how well the building will stand. Specifically, the cornerstone, the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, is considered the most important piece of the building. The cornerstone is where the whole weight of the edifice rests on, and without this strong piece, the whole building would not be able to stand and would ultimately collapse.
This principal architectural term is also given to Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11). He is called the cornerstone; the foundation and the most essential in God’s building. In turn, here in 1 Peter, believers are called the “living stones”.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross acknowledges believers to have the honor of being called God’s living stone. Believers are called to be part of God’s building with deep affection, as we are seen as chosen and precious (v4). It pictures our now intimate and secure relationship with God as Christ the foundation. However, this calling does not have an individualistic feature.
We are made God’s living stones as an assembly (v9); we are called to be built as God’s spiritual house(v5) and proclaiming God’s excellencies (v9) as a whole. We are given a purpose to be the Church, the body of Christ, that will be a testimony and a declaration of God’s praises in this dark world. This is an outcome that comes as the Church joins together in one body.
It means we were always meant to build the Church on the foundation of the Cornerstone, with individual lives coming together as the Church. Just as a single stone is with not much power, when many stones are brought together, it can result in building strong and beautiful edifices.
Imagine the praises and the testimony of Christ that can be displayed to the world if the Church continues to grow and builds together as well as individually. If the Church is filled with harmony with one heart and mind for Christ, it will inherently bring praises to God. Along with that, the beauty of the Body of Christ that can be exhibited in the unity of the Believers would be a powerful testimony to the foundation in which the Church was built on.
So many times, churches experience detachments and divisions because we forget our calling as living stones. We lose sight and take our eyes off of the Cornerstone as our foundation, which sadly brings damage to the churches and to the Body of Christ.
The Lenten season can be used to not only reflect on our individual relationships with God, but also how we fit into the big picture of the Church. How can the Church confirm the Gospel of Christ to the world? How well are the churches doing in their testament of Christ in order to build the Church?
Let’s preserve God’s calling to be His living stone and secure our foundation as Christ, the Cornerstone.
What can you do individually to help edify and support your churches in order to keep Jesus as the foundation of the Church? What role can you play in building the Church? What can you do to love the Church more? Reflect on different ways you can step up in your church in order to bring unity and praises to God in your church.
Father God, we confess, as the Church, we need Christ to be our foundation. We pray that your churches may bring praises to You as You build us in unity. May you use Your churches for Your Kingdom work and for Your glory. May your calling be our life’s purpose and vision. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
About the Author
Helen Jang graduated from North Park Theological with a Master of Divinity degree in 2012 and resides in Chicago. She is currently a full time social worker with Catholic Charities. She also serves as the Young Adults Pastor and Youth Pastor at Full Gospel Chicago Church. She has been doing youth ministry since 1996 and can’t imagine using her life for anything else.