Yesterday I was at a conference at my church. There was a point where there were a few of us who started bringing our hands down, then raising our hands up. Sounds a bit odd… but we were essentially doing the actions to the song “the wise man built his house upon the rock”. This song is all based around the parable of the wise and foolish builders. The wise man built his house upon the rock, the foolish man built his house upon the sand. When the rains came down and the floods came up, the house on the sand came tumbling down and the house on the rock stood firm.
The illustration of buildings is used a lot in Christian teaching. This isn’t because all Christians are called to be architects or builders – in the practical and physical sense. Instead it is because we are constantly building our lives, and together we are building the Church.
The song we are looking at this week was new to the school last year but has become a firm favourite. Cornerstone. The chorus goes “Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong, in the saviours love. Through the storm, he is lord, Lord of all.
Another building metaphor. A metaphor, which has it’s origins in the Old Testament. The cornerstone is, perhaps not shockingly, the stone/brick which holds two walls together – in a corner! But more importantly it is the first stone that is laid. It is the one laid with most care, that all other bricks are based upon. If it is laid slightly on an angle, the entire building will always be on an angle.
Within Christianity we are taught the Jesus is that cornerstone. Not just Jesus the man, and the example that he set. But the basis of Christianity is what Jesus did at the end of his ministry. The first line of the song says “my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness”. Jesus blood, which was shed at his crucifixion.
Our Bible reading is from 1 Peter 2:4-10 where it talks about the believers being living stones. All of them being part of the Church, with Christ as the cornerstone.
In the majority of buildings we wouldn’t know which stone was the first stone, even though the rest of the building is built in relation to it. Similarly in the world people no longer see the physical person of Jesus anymore but they might see what has been built from it. The Church. Those who are weak are made strong, those who stand firm in a storm. When I started to think about this passage I was going to talk about my faith and how it has stayed there throughout numerous storms, because Christ is the cornerstone of my life. But actually, I don’t think that’s the point of this song. The reason why my faith hasn’t completely disappeared at times of difficulty is because my faith isn’t about me, it’s about what my faith makes me a part of, which is much bigger. I am part of a church family, but more importantly I am part of The Church which is all believers past and present.
A church which is built on a foundation of love and sacrifice. A Church which has hope when things seem hopeless because they believe that Jesus died on the cross in their place, and because he rose again, they can be free to be in relationship with God. A Church which, because they have that hope are able to bring hope to others. When people feel they are in a storm the Church offers love and hope through things such as Foodbank, hospices, support centres, and sometimes just being an ear to listen.
The Church is a powerful thing, with an awesome basis, but what do people see? The pretty little bits that people have added, or the solid building of people with Jesus’ blood and righteousness as the starting point?
What is at the cornerstone of your life?
Challenge: if people looked at you and your life what would they say is the centre/the basis of your life? Is that what you want people to see? How could you change it?
Prayer: father God we thank you that you came to earth inJesus giving us an example of love, and dying on the cross so that we may have new life in you. Thank you that this is our cornerstone. May we as your Church be a reflection of you. Amen