Graveling Before the Lord
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 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 2:4-5
It has been an exciting time in the parsonage, to say the least. To think that as first-time parents, Andrea and I asked dear Rick to please mow outside of Ezra’s nap time, and now, all three boys sleep deeply through sounds of rocks and engines, tucked safely in our vibrating house.
Ezra was manning his station long before 7am on day one of the parking lot destruction, with construction vehicle toys in hand. The boys have kept a steady supervision of the project - you might as well call them Svend and Poul Juniors.* When the rest of you will be celebrating the completed parking lot, it will be a sad day in our household to see the machines go.
In his first letter, Peter encourages Christians to become like “living stones” built into a spiritual house, laid on the foundation of Christ who is the cornerstone. It certainly sounds more exciting to be large stones built into a house than insignificant gravel paved into a parking lot. At the same time, we recognize the hospitality of a safe parking lot and the welcome it provides to people making their way to God’s house.
On my best days, I would like to think I’m one of the bricks in the wall of God’s house, doing my small part to hold up the structure. In reality, my heart is so often the kind of gravel that needs to be bulldozed into a useful position, paved over and given a smoother exterior. I don’t want to give anyone a flat tire on their way to Jesus.
Peter preceded his building metaphor with a call to excavate all that would prevent the proper construction of God’s spiritual house:
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:1-3
My fellow rocks, we are together being smoothed into God’s service. It begins with excavation, which is necessary but painful. It continues with the new material given by the Holy Spirit for the reconstruction of our lives. It culminates in a unity that prepares the way to the Lord’s house, making straight the path of God.
* Svend Toftemark and Poul Olesen are Bethesda retirees who have jumped back into the world of construction to oversee this project for us. Thank you!