1 Peter 2:4–9
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 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. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone,”
“A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Ray Vander Laan has a great study on the “Standing Stones” of ancient people. In the Bible, standing stones were built to commemorate times when individuals or groups had a powerful encounter with God.
“They are lonely sentinels on the ruins of ancient cities’ gigantic stones erected by a past civilization, their purpose and message lost to history. They provide a glimpse into a custom that lies behind several significant stories in the Bible, and they are the foundation of modern practices in a Western world 6,000 miles and 3,000 years away. They are “standing stones.” The most impressive collection is in the high place at Gezer, where ten stones, some over 20 feet tall, stand in silent tribute to a long-forgotten event. Their size is probably evidence of the importance of what they represented. How they got there is uncertain, although clearly they came from some distance away.
Long before the Israelites arrived on the scene, pagans in the Middle East erected sacred stones to their gods. If one of their gods (or so they believed) caused an important event or provided a significant benefit, a stone was erected as a testimony to the action of the god. If a covenant or treaty was signed between cities or individuals, stones were erected to declare the agreement and to invoke the witness of the gods. Travelers who saw the standing stones would ask, “What happened here?” and the people who knew the story would give testimony to their gods.
To this Middle Eastern culture, God revealed himself so that he could accomplish the great work of restoring a lost world to himself. His people worshiped him and memorialized his acts of deliverance as their custom dictated: by erecting stones.”
Today’s reading tells us that we are “living stones” that have raised up by God to be testimony to those around us. While we are imperfect and are growing in grace, does the way we live and love for Jesus cause others to ask, “what happened here?” when they come across us in our everyday lives?
Advent is a time when we can ask Jesus to do whatever he needs to do in our lives that we may be (re)shaped into standing stones for his glory.