Living Stones

By Kristen Gunn

A Reading from 1 Peter 2:1-10

1 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation — 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5 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. 6 For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

7 To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”

8 and

“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10 Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.

Meditation

On the eve of this past Easter, I had the joy of watching some friends’ new baby be baptized in the light of our flickering Vigil candles, just after all standing around had renewed and repeated their own baptismal promises. That fresh memory impresses upon me how excellent a text 1 Peter is for public reading in the Easter season, beginning with and flowing from themes of our new birth in baptism and the connection of that new birth with “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1:3).

What strikes and relieves me most about today’s passage is that in the central image — that of our “be[ing] built into a spiritual house” — our own activity has mostly to do with being receptive, cooperative, and dependent on the one whom we seek in humble faith. We are not the architects of the house, but the (living) stones themselves, fitted to him who is the first stone, “chosen and precious in God’s sight.” God oversees it all. We are to “come to him” — to come to his Christ. But then, almost simultaneously, we are to let our seeking of him result in “be[ing] built” into something we didn’t ultimately plan.

We don’t always know what God is doing in the Church. But in coming to Christ — in sharing in his sufferings, in receiving his love to the point of overflow, in diligently seeking his truth in both the milk and the meat of Scripture and letting it change and grow us — we will be fitted and joined to him and to each other in love, the final glory of which we can’t begin to imagine.

Kristen Gunn is a student at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, where she is happily plucking away at an M.T.S. She has a B.A. in religion and linguistics, and loves dancing in the patristics section of the library when she thinks she is alone.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Lahore – The (united) Church of Pakistan
Church of the Holy Family, Chapel Hill, N.C.

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