1 Peter 2:1-9 Ephesians 2:19-22 Nehemiah 4
Last week Tony led us through a teaching and meditation on Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone. It would appear, dear friends, that Holy Spirit, our Great Teacher and Guide, wants us to continue to reflect on the same scriptures this week as we delve into what it is to be “Living Stones”.
Almost a year ago, I heard a news item about a town on the wild west coast where the residents were getting increasingly worried about the Tasman Sea creeping ever closer to their homes and the ineffectiveness of the massive rocks that had been tried as a seawall. Being resourceful, do it yourself Coasters, some of the residents got together and came up with a design that is proving to be much more effective. They have designed and had built enormous hexagonal blocks that interlock, using the power of this knitted together structure to prevent the sea encroaching any further inland. The power of the sea manages to move and wash away the individual rocks, some weighing up to 10 tonnes, but because they are locked together, these concrete structures are not moving.
There are so many images used in our Bible to describe what we are as individuals and also as the Church, timeless imagery that still applies today. We are called “living stones” with Jesus as our Chief Living Stone, so what does that mean.
We are being built up into a spiritual house, with all that that entails. We need to be just the right shape and this is often a painstaking and sometimes painful process. All the rough edges need chipping away, all the lumps and bumps need knocking off, anything that gets in the way has to go.
Scripture is full of different examples of this one simple truth – we are God’s workmanship, crafted by His Hand, fashioned to the design that He knows is the perfect plan for us as individuals. Those hexagonal blocks that are forming the sea defence on the West Coast are all identical, but this is never the way that God designs His structures. We are all unique, all different shapes and sizes, yet in the Hands of Almighty God, the ultimate Master Craftsman, we will all fit together, with Jesus Christ as our cornerstone in His perfect place.
When Nehemiah was moved on by God to rebuild Jerusalem, he instructed the builders to use the rubble from the old walls to repair and build the new. I love this as it demonstrates so wonderfully that God looks at the rubble of our lives and chooses not to sweep it away as being useless rubbish, but gathers it and meticulously creates a beautiful new structure. Yes, He has to shape and fashion these building blocks, but He knows that, because these living stones have weathered storms and battering, they are just what He needs. The builders took their weathered, living stones and did precisely as Nehemiah instructed, just as we must submit to the will of God in our lives. He is the One who sees the end from the beginning, the One who has the blueprint of our lives laid out perfectly, the One who knows just what bits need chipping off and smoothing into shape.
We are individually and wonderfully made, with a unique purpose in God’s plan, one that He delights to open to us and walk through with us. No matter how insignificant we may feel, never forget that God says He has wonderfully and purposefully made us. God delights to see us seeking His face, He delights to reveal Himself to us, giving us everything we need for life here on earth. As individual living stones we are loved, adored and treasured so much by our Father God. Yet, when He melds us together with fellow believers, God creates a structure that is truly amazing.
Prayer: Father God, as we submit to Your Hand, fashioning and shaping us into who You know we are designed to be, we give You thanks that we are Your precious living stones. Amen.