As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by human beings but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood ... (1 Peter 2:4-5a)Faith is intensely personal, but it is also intensely communal.
As someone who designs buildings for a living the picture Peter paints in this passage through an analogy of a stone house is quite rich and enlightening. A spiritual stone house is being built out of living stones with Jesus as the cornerstone. A few things come to mind when I think about a stone structure. First stonework is extremely labor intensive and therefore expensive in countries where labor costs are relatively high. Secondly, stone masonry is more of a 'creative' trade than many of the other building trades. The stone worker, also known as a mason, selects and cuts the stone to fit a specific spot in the wall. Each stone is selected and shaped to correspond to the stones around them. Each stone is unique but needed to complete the whole structure. Thirdly, the stone mason always starts with the corners of the stone house. The stones at the corner establishes the correct shape and angle and are used as a guide for the entire structure of the house. Once the corners are established the stone mason can fill in the rest of the walls with stones. Finally, from a structural point of view the cornerstone has the most weight or load on it.
A spiritual house is being built out of the lives of those who follow Christ. The church is being built, not of stone but of lives. As we come to Jesus and submit our lives we are changed and shaped to correspond and relate to the others around us. If we isolate ourselves we prevent this 'shaping' to take place. Community is essential to spiritual growth. Each of us are unique and are worked together into one community. As we are 'shaped' we are also being aligned with Jesus the cornerstone. Each unique stone fits tightly with the next coming together to form an integral structure where much of the weight and load is transfered to the cornerstone, Jesus.
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