Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 93; 150, Isaiah 43:8-13, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-7
The Apostle Peter wrote the letter we call 1 Peter to encourage the church in times of trouble. In this letter he quotes the prophet Isaiah to describe Christ as “a cornerstone chosen and precious […] The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner.”
A cornerstone is the first stone that builders set in place. Such a stone must be carefully selected and positioned, as it determines how all the others will line up. As the cornerstone of the church, Christ is the stable foundation upon which it all rests and depends.
A cornerstone sounds like a place where walls meet, but it’s actually a point of departure. As the adjoining walls are constructed, they move farther away from each other. While each stone laid is in some way related to the cornerstone, we can’t see all of them at once. If they all had the same position relative to the cornerstone, simply stacked one atop another, they would topple.
Most denominations in the Christian church have formed from conflict. Each believed itself to be a better representation of Christ than the one(s) before it. Some of us are so far apart we can’t believe the other can call itself Christian. In more recent decades though, we have become more ecumenical – more unified. A few holdouts still insist on a solitary brand of Christianity (even though none of us much represents church as Christ would have practiced it in his time) but for the most part we have learned to appreciate each other’s differences without having to agree to hold the same position. As long as we are in line with Christ, we are part of the same structure. We even manage to learn from each other. Ecumenism is like walking around the building to see the whole thing.
As the church faces a troubled world, let us not worry so much that we don’t all hold exactly the same positions. Instead let’s embrace the idea that by finding common support on the once rejected cornerstone, we build outward to where we need to be.
Comfort: When we rely on Christ, we fall into place.
Challenge: When you’re distracted by differences, look for commonalities.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all the ways you are present in the world. Amen.
Discussion: What strategies do you have for handling disagreements?
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