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. I Peter 2: 4-5
Isn’t this an amazing text? “Living stones”, what an image! What the author is saying here is that we are called to be living stones, solid and vital people, full of spirit.
We are familiar with the idea that the church is a living organism, a community built upon the strength and the reliability of Christ, our cornerstone. But what if we stress another aspect? What if we stress that the church is also a place? Our church has an address. It is a very specific “space.” This is brought out every time the church celebrates an important anniversary. Then we hear our members speak quite movingly about how this church has been a special place, a sacred space for them, filled with memories of prayer, faith, and commitment.
It’s good to give thanks to God for this special gift, but it’s also good to think about our responsibility in relation to this gift. A garden center had some signs that prod our thinking along this line. The first one said, “The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago.” Nearby it, another sign announced, “The second best time to plant a tree is today.” The best time to plant St. Matthew’s/San Mateo (called Pinkney Chapel then), was over 130 years ago, but now it is our responsibility to re-seed it. What is it that we are called to do today, in relation to this physical space that is the church? How can we keep it well furnished, safe and inviting? What upkeep is required and how can we be involved and committed so that we can pass this gift on to a new generation?
Thanks be to God for calling us to the living stone, Jesus Christ, and for enabling us to be living stones as well. And thanks be to God for the place called St. Matthew’s/San Mateo, and our role in keeping it vital.