“Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, …” 1 Peter 2:4-5
Did you see what Peter did there? In just one sentence and with one metaphor he made a stunning affirmation regarding the nature of Jesus, and the nature of those who would follow in the Way of Jesus. In once sentence he affirms that Jesus and we are made of the same material, that we share the same elements and miraculous capacity. We are stones…unmoving, formidable, capable of bearing great burdens, able to be a firm foundation for great things. And, we are living…living stones. Somehow the strength of our faith is both static, unchangeable and, at the same time, it is also malleable and organic. What seems fixed and immovable turns out to have agency and energy. And, we share those capacities with Jesus. We can to all intents and purposes appear unchanged, steadfast, the same person we were the day before, but something within us is changeable, and capable, through our affinity with Jesus, of changing others.
During Holy Week some of us signed up to be prayer partners throughout the week. Each of us was paired with someone else from the congregation. We connected with our partner, shared what concerns or circumstances we were perhaps struggling with, and requested prayers regarding the situation. We weren’t looking for magic, or easy resolutions, but intentional, prayerful accompaniment for a week of our life, as we faced up to certain sticky situations. During the week I was going to visit someone who I have trouble connecting with (it isn’t one of you, so don’t even try!) I should be closer to this person, but we always seem to be just out of step. So I asked my prayer partner to keep me and the other person in her prayers. And the visit went very well. Indeed it was so enjoyable that I even offered to go back for a second visit. And I thought to myself, “Well that was weird.” All these years of awkwardness and suddenly two lovely visits in a row. And then I remembered – my partner was praying for me. Well that threw me – I truly don’t expect immediate and specific responses to prayer. Kinda gave me the chills. And then I decided to accept it all as a gift, and to offer thanksgiving, and a smile, to God. (Sometimes it doesn’t do to overthink miracle moments). Is this what it is to be a living stone – to, for all intents and purposes remain as unchanging as a stone and yet, and yet, to experience a deep shift upon receiving the grace of God? And in telling the story of grace received, to be one of the building stones of the body that is the church?
Have you ever felt like a stone – unmoving, perhaps frozen still with anxiety, immobilized by lack of purpose, or so excited you can’t move for fear of bursting the moment? And then realized, that while it appears not one hair on your head has changed, your heart and soul have been moved like boulders in an avalanche? I wonder, do you see your part in building up the community of faith by offering the stories of those moments? Do you see how you are part of the living foundation of the Body of Christ that is the church? Thanks be to God for all of you, the living stones of our faith community!
See you Sunday, as we pile on, stone upon stone, to build a worship of praise and thanksgiving.
Debra, Coordinating Minister