The Living Stones

This post represents the beginning of a new project for me. About six months ago I determined to take a more systematic approach to the examination of my faith. It has been a rich, surprising, and incredible journey thus far – and I am but a few steps into it. Discussion of this journey would suffice to fill numerous posts  – a book even? But for now I’d like to stick to the project at hand.

I have been wanting to dig into Scripture, to go beneath the surface and discover what it truly means to me – what it speaks to me. Here’s my disclaimer: I am neither ordained clergy nor a professional theologian. This represents my ongoing journey into faith, into being an active participant in the dialogue of Scripture, rather than a mute consumer of its surface tones. If my writings stray afoul of your understanding of orthodoxy, I welcome constructive dialogue.

It seemed appropriate to take this up on the eve of Pentacost. Perhaps the Spirit will keep moving me along (it may take divine intervention to cure my procrastination). The intent is to write each installment in this project at about 350 words in length, designed to be digested quickly and reflected on through the day. Each post consists of a short passage of Scripture – usually just a few verses – a reflection, and short prayer.

In a perfect world I’d write and publish this daily – at least until I came to a natural point of conclusion. But, in a perfect world my several projects would be published books right now, and not partially complete orphans awaiting my attention. So, let’s just see where this takes us. God bless you all, and thanks for reading!

The Living Stones


1 Peter 2:4-5 NRSV “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.”

If you’ve ever watched a mason at work you probably see the power of this imagery. The placement of each stone in a wall relies upon the placement of each stone before and after it to hold together the whole. If one is misplaced, or fails to hold in place, whole sections may need to be redone to make a strong formation.

So it is with our faith. Christ is the cornerstone of the church – the guiding beginning and end – but each of us has a crucial role in forming the whole. Sometimes the most crucial stones are the smallest, used to fill gaps and to pin together the larger stones.

If you were to view such a wall at arms-length it would appear as a small collection of insignificant rocks – things to be tripped over and cast aside. But step outside your limited view of self and the whole begins to take shape. The greatest cathedral can be resolved down to single stones, all holding together, emanating from and leading to the fulfillment of the cornerstone.

When we offer ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice – when we step outside our egoic self and go within our true spiritual self – we make ourselves fitting for placement in the whole. We lift ourselves up to the mason’s hands – to God – to be formed into the church. And in that formation, if it be built in spiritual truth, we become as one with Christ, and with every other soul placed before and after us. We become Christ’s church.

Lord, grant us the strength to surrender ourselves to your will. Lift us up and place us as living stones in the eternal structure of your church. Let us always be strong enough to hold up those who follow, and to lift them higher to you. Amen.

Catedral de Pedra Canela Brazil

Catedral de Pedra, Canela, Brazil

7 thoughts on “The Living Stones

  1. James, you remind me of Paul and the letters he wrote. Jesus is our cornerstone, the beginning and the end. He is my rock and I love how you used masonry to point us in the direction of our crucial role in these last days.
    Waiting to read and learn more

  2. James
    Thank you for your commentary. By setting Jesus Christ as our cornerstone, We develop a strong foundation for our spiritual temple, dedicated to God. Also, like stoned,as members of Family of God, we support each other by providing support to build up each other up as well and accept the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  3. “Don’t be a fool! It’s true that at most you play the part of a little bolt in that great undertaking of Christ’s.

    But do you know what happens when a bolt is not tight enough or when it works itself out of place? Bigger parts also work loose or the gear-wheels get damaged and broken.

    The work is slowed up. Perhaps the whole machine will be rendered useless.

    What a big thing it is to be a little bolt!”

    St. Josemaría Escrivá / “The Way” #830

    It is good to be a small stone or a little bolt!

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