Scripture: 1 Peter 2:2-10
Sermon: “Solid as a Rock?” by Rev. Kelly Jane Caesar on May 10, 2020
There is a lot rocks can teach us about being grounded during this uncertain time.
Could you raise your hand if you are familiar with the idea that Christ is our cornerstone?
Jesus Christ is the capstone or cornerstone – the who connects us, guides us and grounds us.
As a cornerstone or capstone in a building or bridge might do,
Jesus is key to who we are as a people.
As Christians we look to Jesus for guidance and comfort in our lives.
Jesus strong like a rock – strong enough to overcome death and despair, resurrected on the 3rd day.
Jesus sturdy and dependable like a rock – always present, always there to hear our cries.
Indeed, during these uncertain times, leaning on Jesus, our rock, can ground us.
Specifically, offering to Jesus our burdens and fears in prayer can be grounding and freeing.
If Jesus can carry the cross and descend into hell and still come back to life,
Then surely Jesus can hold whatever worry we carry.
Talking to Jesus, our rock, can calm us and ground us in God’s eternal promise of love.
In today’s scripture we read that Jesus is not the only one to be compared to a stone.
If Jesus is the cornerstone, we are the stones that make up the walls of God’s temple.
In v. 5:
“You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple”
We are living stones.
Living stones intended to build up the spiritual temple.
the realm of God; the Kingdom of Heaven.
Living stones for the building a better world –
A world where all have enough,
A world where all know they are loved.
Living stones for the building of life-giving community,
Especially in this day of social distancing.
To build up the spiritual temple we must be living stones – adaptable, moving.
We have a role to play – an active role.
Indeed taking action to help can ground us in community and meaning.
We can be building blocks in a larger story – a better world for all.
“You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple.”
We often think about rocks as static, rigid, never changing –
Yet rocks change like everything else.
Rocks in house foundations can shift and crack over time.
Ocean waves smooth rough rocks.
Planet Earth is essentially a huge rock that has been transforming over millions of years.
Plates shift to form mountains and valleys.
Lava cools on the surface into rocks,
Water and air and wind sand down stones into new forms.
Sand over time with water and wind becomes sandstone.
Limestone recrystallizes upon metamorphism into marble.
Rocks that seem never-changing actual have and will change.
Solid but not static; even rocks transform.
We are called to be living stones –
living means moving, continual transformation.
Solid, but not static.
During this pandemic time, striving to be solid like a rock – that is sold, but not static –
Can ground us.
When the world around us is spinning,
It can be tempting to stick firmly to the familiar.
When quarantine first started internet articles urged people to keep a familiar routine.
Routines can certainly soothe and help –
CJ can tell you I’m all for routines, especially my morning breakfast routine.
While I’ve kept to some routines – I still have my morning devotional time with God,
Other routines have changed – I switched to writing my sermon on Friday instead of Monday – as Monday felt too early in this rapidly changing world.
I’ve found that this quarantine time is not helped by rigidity –
This is a time that calls for some flexibility and grace.
The stress of a pandemic can pop up at unexpected times or in unexpected things –
Some days may just feel blah for no specific reason.
To be grounded during this time may take a degree of flexibility –
A willingness to let go and be transformed.
Perhaps practices that once were grounding no longer are – or even possible –
We are called to be living stones, finding strength anew.
In my introductory study of rocks it seemed to me a number of changes originated in the context of extreme heat and pressure transforming minerals into new forms.
Now is certainly a time of extreme heat – our society is under extreme pressure to transform quickly.
Businesses, organizations and churches that survive this time will be those that adapt,
That transform into something else in this new world.
Personally, we have each needed to adapt in order to have strength in this time.
Our spiritual practices may have adapted too.
Jerry was telling me about a rock garden up in Maine.
It is a community rock garden filled with beautifully painted stones,
Many with motivational words or images.
The practice of this garden is that you bring a stone to add,
And take a different stone when you leave.
So too is it with our spiritual practices –
Perhaps there is a practice we put down for now
And pick up a new practice that fits for us in this time.
In fact, research has shown that pursuing a new activity right now can give us energy and hope – a sense of moving forward, instead of being stuck.
As such, CJ and I took up an online zumba class.
We may find the spiritual strength in this time has more to do with our ability to transform – to pick up a new rock – than it does is remaining rigid.
“You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple” v.5
Strong, but not rigid.
Like a skyscraper that is built to sway in the wind – for if it was too static it would break.
So, may we adapt and bend as needed, that we might be as strong as a rock, leaning on the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Amen.