Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When Christ is the Cornerstone

On Sunday night at bible study we discuss the idea that Christian community should have Christ as its cornerstone. Dictionary.com defines cornerstone as ‘a stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls’ and as ‘an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based’. We ask ourselves, ‘If Jesus is truly the cornerstone of a Christian community, what would that community look like?’ If we were to base our community on Christ, to depend on Him, to build our community with Him as our foundation, what things would characterize that kind of community?

For me, the answer to that question kept coming back to one concept: grace. A community with Christ as its cornerstone would be one full of grace: Grace for ourselves when we mess up or embarrass ourselves, grace for others when they mess up or annoy us. This community would be one of peace, of respect. Ephesians 2:17 says that Christ came and preached peace to those who were near and far. He preached peace to those close to Him, and to those who were far from Him. I wonder if I am doing that, if I am preaching peace to those close to me and far from me. I think about whether I preach peace to myself. Do I think about things peacefully, do I extend myself grace when I fail to live up to my own expectations?

To me, peace and grace are intrinsically linked. When grace is present, so is peace. When we extend grace to others, we live in peace with them. Their faults and foibles are less important to us when we extend grace. When we extend grace to ourselves, in our own hearts and minds, the fears and insecurities that leave us vulnerable and prone to lashing out at others are lessened. If we are at peace with ourselves, if we treat ourselves gracefully, we can do the same for others.

It’s true that the grace of God is not something that can be fully understood. As humans, full of faults and imperfections, we are incapable of extending grace in the consistent and unconditional manner of God. But we can try. We can make an effort to put Christ first in our lives, to accept His grace and love. Then, following His example, we can make an effort to see others the way He sees them, to treat others the way He treats them: with grace and peace.

Today’s Verses
Ephesians 2: 17-20
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

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