Friday, December 17, 2010

Living Stones

Fridays with Susan

" also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood..."  I Peter 2:4

We spent hours on the phone this week.  Another living stone and I.  We talked and laughed and grappled with new issues and old hurts.  We each had occasion to humble ourselves and to confess sin (we had judged and mistrusted and pretended everything was all right when it really, really wasn't.  We had quietly and secretly harboured feelings which had affected the other and which had affected our relationship in general. 

In the course of our  coming through to the broad place of peace, we laughed, we cried, we lost patience with each other, we interrupted, we gave in, we gave up, we started again, We prayed, we misunderstood, we gave an inch, and then a mile, we took responsibility, we validated our feelings, we gave each other forgiveness and accepted and at long last we came to that place of understanding that only God can give. We laboured long in relationship, and together we gave birth to a new understanding of each other.  And of God.

It was hard, but it was good.  Oh, so good.  And worth every bit of effort.  We are two friends who fought for peace together.  We fought for love.  And love won.

Living stones.  That's what God compares us to.  "...Living stones who are being built together into a temple..." 

What is a "temple" but a place for God to come and dwell? 

If we are living stones, then it's obvious that what holds us together is "relationships".  If we, in relationship to one another, form a structure that God himself will grace with his presence, then can we afford to indulge in any kind of attitude or action which might jeopardize that?  Can we nurse our hurts or be afraid to humble ourselves and admit when we are wrong?   Can we indulge in self protection, or apathy?  Can we let our relationships cool, our friendships cease to be?

 If we can get it together;  if we living stones will choose the narrow way and the steep path, which is simply to love one another - no matter what - then God's presence will be in us and evident to those around us - especially to those who belong to a lost and dying world.

But what is love?  What does it mean to love - really love - one another?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ..:  I Corinthians 12:4-7

It always trusts, it always hopes, it always perseveres?

Yeah, always.


Belinda said...

That is a description of true community and what The Church really is; a group of "living stones" built together and held together by the strong cement of love.

We really can't afford "pseudo community" and it is such a puny imitation of the real thing. Why do we allow fear to make us settle for it?

Susan said...

I read this morning that "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life..."

I saw that in a different way today.. I saw it as the Spirit giving life to whatever it is that interconnects those living stones - the Spirit gives life to the relationships - it increases love - it builds community. And where there's true community, God shows up. It's not the programs, or what we "do" together that's so important, but who we "are"... If we are living stones, being built together in love - for God's glory and to be indwelt by him, then it's not just God who's gonna show up. The whole world will break down the doors to be part of that... On the other hand, maybe we should be taking the temple to the people a little more often...

Makes me wanna go to church and get going on it! :)

Peter Black said...

Thank you for giving this candid view of your life, your heart, and desire to be right with God as a "living stone" in His temple of praise, and in right relation with another "living stone."
You take us to core issues that too often rob us as Christian believers and our faith communities of the health and vitality that come in part through authentic and loving relationships.