“You are my rock.” How many songs can we sing about the rock of our faith? Lots, no doubt. So, sing them, but also bring a rock to hand out to everyone who gathers. Email a rock to the online congregation. Wait, email a rock? Maybe a picture of a rock. Maybe a link to a rock song on Spotify. Figure out how to make rocks – everyday rocks that we see so often we don’t see them anymore – the center of our attention. Let the everyday items around us suddenly reverberate with divinity. It’s not just a rock anymore; it is a reminder of God’s presence and promise.
That’s what worship can do: transform everything around us so that God becomes visible to our too earthly eyes. Find something that can symbolize that presence. This week, it is easy, Peter talks about stones, about being stones, living stones. Psalm 31 talks about the rock that is the Lord supporting us, encouraging us. We are the stone; God is the rock, hmmm. What this means is that the best sign, the best symbol of God’s presence is you, is us, the whole body of Christ.
There is also in this text an invitation to surrender to the direction of the Spirit as we are being built into the structure that is the body of Christ. So, here again, there is an opportunity for a commitment or recommitment to the working of God in and through us. This could be done corporately as an affirmation of faith or unison prayer of commitment; or individually, as people come forward for an opportunity to commit to the building of the body and the kin-dom of God. Come forward and pick up a stone, perhaps, or leave one to build a model of the church that rises up to God. Use some way of signaling our obedience to the call to let ourselves be built.
But we are living stones, so what does that mean? How do we carry this foundational presence out into the world? How do we commit to building a church that transforms not just those inside, but those outside as well? How will our body-building strengthen our whole neighborhood and not just ourselves? This is the challenge of the living stones: discipleship for the transformation of the world.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.