Today, we introduce Brother Ben Hemmings as our guest columnist for the month of July. Over the next five weeks, he’s going to take a look at rocks and stones and why they’re featured so prominently in scripture. (If you’ve been a longtime Gospel Blog reader, then you may remember this series of articles from 2014, when we originally published them.)
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:5-9)
Every day we walk over them. They are pieces of earth that we don’t always consider. They can comprise the footpaths we walk on or the area where we park our cars. They are still used as weapons and still stacked to build the walls and foundations of our houses. They are stones.
Stones surround us. Earth certainly does have a lot of them. We know that rocks are formed through varying means: earthly elements facing hundreds or thousands of years of heat and pressure underneath the Earth’s surface, lava that hardens following a volcanic eruption, or compositely through pieces of other rocks and mud coming together.
Now, you probably did not click this blog to read a science lesson, but it is important to consider how stones form…so that we can celebrate this multifaceted metaphor.
In his epistle, Peter tells us that we are to be lively stones. Do we know exactly what a lively stone is? A lively stone is a stone that has had its rough surface smoothed out.
Imagine, in an attempt to briefly flee the hustle and bustle of your somewhat busy life, you stumble across a brook in the middle of the woods. The sound of the water brings calmness to your mind. But little do you know that the noise is a result of the rocks and other objects at the brook’s floor, altering the flow of the water.
The act of water smoothing a stone creates a beautiful, calming sound for the listener. Let that sink in…
Just as rocks are all around us, they are mentioned quite a bit in the scriptures. God has created exquisite metaphors with rocks. What we might view as oddly shaped pieces of dirt and rubble have been created for something beautiful. Rocks serve as a pivotal motif in God’s unfolding story for humanity.
As we already established, rocks are all around us today, same as in Jesus’ time. Just as rocks played an important role in scripture, they still do today.
They comprise the path that leads to our destination. They are used to build walls to provide safety from the outside. There is that one lone rock sitting in the middle of the yard looking pretty. Many are still sitting at the bottom of the brook, creating a beautiful noise as they endure the process of the rough edges getting smoothed out, waiting for the moment a passerby picks it up…
Questions to think on:
- What do you use rocks for?
- What kind of rock are you (as in, how were you formed and where are you found)?
- What does being a lively stone mean to you?
- How do you describe the process of becoming lively?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.