Fifth Sunday of Easter
1 Peter 2:2-10; Psalm 31
On my morning neighborhood walks, I pick up a couple rocks and do some “weight lifting.” Hey, my gym is closed! I love finding pretty ones that end up decorating my flower beds, mostly because rocks have been a part of the Nelson family adventures. During my growing up years, we moved frequently and did lots of exploring in the Arizona desert, the central Oklahoma valley, and the Mississippi sea shore. Inevitably, we picked up and kept forever, treasures like dried cactus, sea shells, and rocks. Of course, I have some rocks from those long-ago adventures, including a “molcajete,” a grinding stone from Mexico, a geode from my high school boyfriend, and lots of Oklahoma rose rocks.
You have to watch the 1954 classic “The Long Long Trailer,” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, to really understand some of our family road trips between military assignments. Today’s cover photo was taken in front of my parents’ home. The large piece of petrified wood features the axe cuts of some long-ago native from the woods near Mom’s German-American community. You can imagine what it took to get it from the country to Austin (not a long long trailer, thank goodness.) Many have stopped to take a picture or admire its unique beauty. The rock is magnificent, but what I love are the stories of Indian lore my Pop told me while taking walks in the country where it was found.
There are so many great Bible metaphors, but “living stones” is obviously a favorite of mine. I’ll try to spare you going on about David’s sling shot and stones, the twelve stones Israel left in the middle of the Jordan river, and the stone that was rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb. Yet here we read about Jesus as the Living Stone, and we all are living stones for a spiritual house in his honor:
4 As you come to him (the Lord), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5
Living Stones! Long ago I tried to sketch out the idea of my life being a spiritual house of worship to God. Here it is below, crudely done way before computer technology. The foundation stone is Jesus our Savior along with God’s Word and the sacred stories of our heroes. The stones of people building the walls are “your people.” They are your parents, family, mentors, teachers, friends, leaders, soul mates…all who have been involved in the creating and growing process of your spirit. With the mind of Christ and his Spirit dwelling in us, the offering of our lives is a fragrant aroma to God. (2 Cor. 2:15; Jn 14:17)
PRACTICE. I guess you could say all this is a lot like rock collecting…these living stones we gather around us for stability, strength, support. Each one has a story significant to who we are as both created and becoming. I encourage you to sketch your own “spiritual house” and include the names of “your people.” Maybe call or send a note or gift to that former coach or Sunday School teacher, or mentor or grandparent…the living stones you have collected along the path of life.
You who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience. Galatians 6:6 MSG
PRAYER. Psalm 31 in the Message version is a beautiful and timely prayer. “You Lord are my Rock and my Fortress.” Read it and make it your own.