I grew up in a little stone house at the edge of a small Midwestern town. Years before we moved there, a previous owner had covered his simple wood frame house with big rocks of all shapes and sizes. Set together with mortar, like bricks, the stones transformed a plain square structure into a unique, fanciful cottage with curved archways and an attached grape arbor. Growing up in that stone house fueled my childhood daydreams and offered the perfect setting for a little girl’s vivid imagination.
On warm summer afternoons, my sisters and I often wandered around the perimeter of our stone house, looking at the different rocks, trying to guess where they might have been found. For the longest time, I thought the builder must have hauled them there from exotic sites around the world. I was disappointed to learn later that most were found in the fields in and around my hometown.
During one of those summers I embarked on a quest to read through our set of Encyclopedia Britannica. I spent a good amount of time looking up the names of the rocks, and when my “R” volume of the encyclopedia didn’t yield enough information, I tracked down a guide to rocks and minerals at the library. Searching out the names and descriptions of the rocks that I lived under occupied me for days.
Mingled in with the glistening blacks and speckled browns and smooth grays were quite a few dull white slabs of Indiana limestone. Though lacking in beauty and with a less-than-exotic name and origin, limestone is one of the strongest of natural building materials. Entire buildings are constructed of limestone and have been standing for centuries. The oldest and largest of the Great Egyptian Pyramids was built of limestone block — over 4,000 years ago.
To the East of those pyramids, across the Red Sea and a couple thousand years later, Christ the “living stone” built his earthly church on a “piece of rock”….petros….Peter.
Peter the Rock called Christ “the living stone — rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him.” But then he turned around and reminded us in his writings that, as co-heirs with Christ, we “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.”
built up to become a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit,
designed to represent Christ the King as a “holy priesthood”.
Quite an honor for simple stones.
My childhood home still stands, strong and solid at the end of Fourth Street. It sits empty now. There’s no life inside that cold, beautiful mound of rock, no evidence of the love and warmth that once flamed behind stone-clad walls.
But, unlike stones fashioned into an earthly dwelling, we as “living” stones are gathered together, piled high, built up to testify to the One who dwells within. Upon our doorpost is written the name of Christ the Priest, the Original Living Stone. We stand — a holy priesthood — to point others to “the stone the builders rejected” who “has become the cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22)
“and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” I Peter 2:6