September 3

You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:6

Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

It is an oxymoron, “living stone.” Think about it — stones are, by definition, inanimate. They are not biological entities. They are not alive. Stones are hard. In every sense of the word: They are rigid and firm, and they are difficult. There’s just no flex to them. But it seems that God intends to build something with stones. (Maybe God gave up on the dust and clay idea after creating humans.)

For centuries castles, fortresses and city walls were built of stone whenever it was possible. The strength of stone made it the best material to protect human communities from outside threat. Stone can be a foundation that can support life and community. Stone can be the protector of life and community.

“Living stones” — sounds like a great combination: “Stone” means solid and reliable and durable. “Living” means growing and changing, flexible and adaptable. To be a living stone is to be solid and reliable and yet still growing and changing. What better material could there be for building God’s church? What better material could there be for building our lives? When we become too rigid, we shatter and break. When we flex and change too much, we weaken and dissolve. But living stones might provide both solid stability and flexible change for growth, a foundation that can support life and community. A foundation for faith.

Thank you Lord, for the great diversity of people you have formed into your Church, living stones built on the foundation of Christ. Forgive us when we follow human conventions instead of your commands to share the forgiving love of Jesus with the world. Amen.

Peace,

Susan Hanson