The Bishop’s E-pistle: A Century of Living Stones

Last Sunday I was at Trinity Church in Kingman, Arizona as they celebrated their 101st Anniversary—postponed from their scheduled celebration last year.  Our Trinity Cathedral is also celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year, and it is putting me in mind of the milestones our congregations’ experience. 

I was particularly struck by the reading from 1 Peter, “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 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.” (1 Peter 2:4-5) It’s a metaphor that has stayed with me this week. 

Christ is the true living stone, the rock upon which we build our faith. But the invitation in 1 Peter to consider ourselves as living stones that are part of the building up of our spiritual house, is a lovely one to me. 

Where is your congregation, and you as one of its stones, in its spiritual building? We have some congregations that are quite young—there are early members who are working on foundations. Others have walls and windows and are working on ornamentation. Members of these churches are looking at the whole and seeing what they can add.  Other congregations are remodeling, reshaping prior plans and contributions into a form that suits the church today. 

Each person has something to contribute.  The building of faith is not complete without the whole. When we lose one of our living stones—through death, sickness, or departure—it can leave a hole that destabilizes the whole. But that hole can also be an opportunity for new support, for a new stone to take its place supporting the church.  

I’m going to be meditating on this for a long time—and that’s good since I do anniversary celebrations at congregations regularly!