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I Peter 2:4-8
Living Stones: “The Cornerstone: Jesus Christ”
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
Thus afternoon I am meeting with Michael Bushebi, and the Team going to Kenya, to talk about our trip this Summer to the Shim Children’s Center in Kiminini. One of the phrases that I hear popping up from people involved is that this ministry wants to “keep Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone of its mission”.
Right now there are some 47 children between the ages of less-than-2 and 18. Pastor Rodgers sort of inherited this situation of orphaned children who were literally sleeping on the mud and dung floor of their church. So with very few resources he started a ministry of finding foster families, and sponsors from places like America, to help with the caring and raising of these children. Unfortunately, as in any system where people are involved, some of the foster parents have simply taken a child or two so they would have more hands to work their fields or to fetch water from the well/river – and so the children have not been able to go to school or get their supplies.
Our trip this Summer is so that we can learn from the people on the ground of this mission how we can best partner with them – we believe it will involve helping to purchase property so they can build an actual facility to house these children and hire staff to care for them. But it is more than merely feeding and housing children. With Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone, there is a whole life-movement and eternity involved.
For most of the next several weeks I invite you to join me as we listen to the Apostle Peter, and hear some Biblical instruction that’s been around for nearly 2,000 years, and is based on totally true counsel, about “good masonry” with Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone of God’s Cathedral.
Peter, whom Jesus nick-named that because of his Rock-of-Gibraltar kind of faith statement when he was the first to say that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, uses the image of the Cornerstone as a metaphor to describe the primary position of Christ in relationship to God’s people.
Listen to these words from the Apostle Peter. This comes from a letter he wrote to the churches in Asia Minor, south Turkey, to people who faced death daily. Listen to how he says we find faith-filled integrity when our Foundation is God Himself.
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16)
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” (Psalm118:22)
8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” (Isaiah 8:14)
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
Essential to our understanding of church and mission is our belief that, in Jesus of Nazareth, God brought the cosmic, universal Church together with flesh and blood human beings. We become the Cathedral of God only when we lean into Jesus Christ the Cornerstone!
For those who have been involved in construction – I have, but only in a very elementary way, on a grammar school level – you know that the cornerstone is the architect’s point of reference for aligning the entire structure. The cornerstone determines which direction the building will face when it is completed.
In a similar way, a life built on Jesus Christ faces a certain direction, aligned as one loved and called on by God, and created to participate in His work here on earth.
Whether you are one whose faith has developed slowly over the course of your lifetime, born and raised in a Christ-following, church-attending, God-serving home where believing in Jesus has always been true – or someone who can name the exact minute when your faith became real, the exact moment when you “were saved” – this Cornerstone reality is equally true! We must lean into the reality of Jesus giving us purpose and direction, as the Cornerstone of the Temple of God – or else He is a stumbling block on which we stub our toe, bruise our foot, and break our ankle – ultimately, trip into the flaming fire!
Is Christ your life’s Cornerstone? Whether it was a dramatic moment or a gradual shift, can you name how life was different before Christ became your Cornerstone? What kind of hope has emerged? Is there joy even in the midst of pain? Do you have a peace in your heart that surpasses the suffering you might experience?
This is Jesus Christ – the Cornerstone!
Think for a minute about some personal faith story you could share with a family member who is afraid right now, or with someone who is literally tripping over Jesus. Has He calmed a storm in your life? Has He secured your borders against the enemy’s encroachment?
Maybe you are not feeling securely grounded in your relationship with Jesus Christ right now. If that is true for you, take a quiet moment right now and ask Him to bring to mind those concrete ways He is anchoring you today – is there something that, perhaps, you have just failed to notice?
In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest draught and storm.
What heights of love; what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease;
My Comforter, my all in all – here in the love of Christ I’ll stand.
…for every sin on Him was laid – here in the death of Christ I live.
… for I am His and He is mine – bought with the precious blood of Christ.
… till He returns or calls me Home – here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
Today we come to the Lord’s Table, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior in the elements of bread and wine (Bethlehem, Ephratha); we recall His gift of love for us as He died on the cross (His body given for us, His blood poured out); and we anticipate His return (He will not drink from the fruit of the vice again until He sees us with Him in Paradise!)
That is our Cornerstone! Four months ago we celebrated His birth as we celebrated Christmas. 35 days ago we celebrated His death and resurrection with our Holy Week, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday celebrations. This Thursday, National Day of Prayer, is also Ascension Day when we commemorate Christ’s ascension, and two weeks from today is Pentecost when we party with Holy Spirit power filling us!
That is the Christian year – built on the Cornerstone of Jesus Christ! Let’s “keep Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone of our mission”.
This Easter Season, this Resurrection Season, let’s build our faith on Jesus Christ – the Cornerstone!
If you heard God calling your name today, if you sense that Christ’s death and resurrection was meant for you today, if you want your life to withstand life’s storms today – drop a note in the Offering Plate, and I’ll get with you later this week. Let’s dedicate, rededicate, our rocky past into service as living stones today!
Happy Easter Season! Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed!
Bettridge, Becce; Living Stones: The Making of an Eternal Fellowship; Presbyterians for Renewal; Louisville, KY; 2012; Pp. 25-31.