Reflections from Europe: Stones



Tuesday May 12, 2020

 

 

These Coronavirus-pandemic days of early 2020 have us reading horrific news from all over the world - but especially how the Covid-19 virus has been infecting and decimating several European countries like Italy, Spain, France and the UK, and the United States of America, to name the worst-hit nations of them all.
 
As I think about these European countries -- so old, so historic, so cultural, so beautiful, filled with so many lovely places to see, and so many wonderful things to do, and so many amazing people to befriend -- I think back to my husband's and my 25th-wedding-anniversary trip that we took to Europe almost 4 years ago now. How we loved every single minute of it! How we delighted in everything we saw and did, in everyone we met and spent time with, in everything we learned from our five weeks there!
 
And so, in memory of our such wonderful days in Europe back then, I have decided to re-post a few reflections I wrote when we got back home to Colombia. Thoughts and meditations on places we saw and things we did, and what they taught me about life and people and God... because they are just as relevant today, in our world steeped in a mind-boggling health and economic crisis, as they were a few years back when life was "normal".
 
Today, from the Reflections For Living Treasure Chest:
 
Reflections From Europe: Stones

 

They were everywhere I looked – everywhere I walked.

 

Stones.

 

Stones on the many cobblestoned streets my husband and I wandered along in Toledo, Spain and in Budapest, Hungary.

 

Stones in centuries-old bridges in medieval cities like Regensburg, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic.

 

Stones in the still-standing portions of ancient fortification walls and towers in Terrassa, Spain and in Bratislava, Slovakia.

 

Stones in beautiful old cathedrals and churches in so many cities we visited, cities like Strasbourg, France and Vienna, Austria.

 

Small stones, big stones – round stones, square stones – smooth stones, rough stones – hard and firm stones, soft and crumbling stones - stones of all different colours…

 

Stones used to build things. Necessary things and protective things like streets and bridges, walls and towers. Beautiful things and necessary-in-a-different-way things like cathedrals and churches.

 

I thought of all this as I came to my 1 Peter Bible reading today:

 

“As you come to him [Jesus Christ],

the living Stone—

rejected by humans

but chosen by God and precious to him—

you also,

like living stones,

are being built into a spiritual house

to be a holy priesthood,

offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God

through Jesus Christ.”

(2:4-5)

 

The apostle Peter talked about stones as well: Jesus Christ, a stone – and God’s chosen and elect, more stones.

 

But Jesus is not just an everyday, ordinary stone according to Peter:

 

- He is the capital-S Stone: the one and only, the unique, the incomparable and matchless Stone

- He is the living Stone: the alive and breathing Stone, the once-incarnate-on-earth and now-forever-resurrected Stone, not something inanimate and lifeless

- He is the Stone often rejected by human builders, but chosen and laid by God as the precious cornerstone of Zion

 

Centuries before, God had spoken through King David about this special Stone that was to come: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Psalm 118:22)

 

Later, He spoke through the prophet Isaiah about this Stone as well: “Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable.” (28:16)

 

When Jesus, “the Stone”, lived on earth, He told the chief priests and the elders of the people a parable about some wicked tenants and how they killed both the servants and the son of the master of the vineyard – referring to Himself as being the fulfillment of the words spoken in King David’s Psalm 118. (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20;17)

 

Luke, the writer of one of the four Gospels and the writer of the Book of Acts, wrote about the apostle Peter’s defense before the council of the Jews: “This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)

 

Later on, the apostle Paul as well spoke of Jesus, the Stone: “… you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone…” (Ephesians 2:19-20)

 

Jesus Christ: the capital-S Stone – a living Stone – a chosen and precious Stone – a tested Stone – the Cornerstone.

 

That is why He is unique, the one and only, incomparable and matchless: because only in Him is there salvation – because only in His name can all human beings be saved – because only those who believe in Him as their sure foundation will be forever unshakeable.

 

But we, God’s chosen and elect, are also living stones. As we come to Jesus – the living Cornerstone – we all, together are built into a spiritual house or temple: so that we might be a holy priesthood that is able to offer acceptable spiritual sacrifices to God through Him.

 

Just like in all the streets and bridges, walls and towers and churches we saw in Europe: never just one stone – standing alone – isolated – off on its own. Always cemented together with other stones. Because a single stone never made a road – never made a fortress – never made a cathedral. It takes many, all joined together, to do that.

 

 

And so, it takes many of God’s chosen and elect, many living stones all joined and “cemented” together, to build a spiritual house unto God. 

 

Yes. Everywhere my husband and I looked and everywhere we walked in Europe, we saw stones. Useful stones. Beautiful stones. Stones that were built into magnificent structures of all kinds.

 

But no stone on earth could ever compare to Jesus Christ: the living Stone, my living Stone – the Cornerstone, my Cornerstone – the Stone of salvation, my Stone of salvation. He is forever matchless in the universe and in my heart!  



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