By Colette Newer, outreach ministries associate director
There’s a Girl Scout troop that meets at my church on Wednesday evenings. They’ve met there for a number of years and their familiarity has led them to refer to it as “The Church.” For example, they announce to parents that they will meet at “The Church” before leaving on a campout.
I love that they consider our church building part of their lives and are comfortable enough with it to use a short-hand name! It also reminds me that we too often refer to the building that we meet as “The Church.” However, in 1 Peter 2:5, it says that “The Church” is really a collection of people. In fact, it describes us as stones -- living stones -- that make up the most incredible architecture in the world. A living building!
…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.
Christians are compared to rocks here, and like many rocks, we come to the Body of Christ unshaped and with rough edges. Thinking that we know best and with ideas about how things should be done and how people should behave, our egos create sharp edges that hurt and even cut each other.
Fortunately, 1 Peter also tells us that we are part of a building which sits upon the cornerstone of Jesus and His character. When we rest on this foundation, we cannot help but change. As we fellowship in love and humility, we learn other perspectives and see the value of each person. We gain patience and empathy, listen more and speak less, and the sharp edges are smoothed out. We’re less likely to hurt each other as we learn to treat others with the measure of grace that we’ve received.
That is what makes the church – this living architecture – so beautiful. An attraction in our communities that’s as appealing as some of the finest architecture in the world. If you’ve been frustrated or hurt, I encourage you not to give up on “The Church.” Persist in love and grace. Allow God to do a great work in you and shape you into the stone He needs for His glory.
My church has taken steps to meet and form a closer relationship with the Girl Scout troop we host. I look forward to the day that when they say, “The Church,” they’re referring to the friends they know who worship in the building where they meet.