Monday, August 29, 2011

A Rock in the Grass

"the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, a stumbling- stone and a rock to trip over." (1 Peter 2:7-8)

This is an image from the Bible that asks questions about the way we construct our lives. It refers to a stone collected for a building project, but unused. Peter tells of this rejected stone lying on one side, where it caused problems. The builders would trip over it - a rock lying in the grass.

This image appeals to me. The stone is still useful, but now in a subversive way. It reminds the builders of what might have been. It is the stone they curse when they stub their toe - yet at the same time this gives them a moment to pause and reflect. The stone trips up the busy builder as he scurries around the building site doing his important stuff. This then allows a halt to the relentless progress of the day. The stone refuses to go away, and so becomes the constant reminder of other building possibilities.

This is an uncomfortable analogy. It speaks of the interruptions that trip us up as we try to get on with our day: a child demanding attention; a spouse asking for help; a neighbour calling loudly; or a poor person intruding into our space. This is the irritating question asked by a preacher; the uncomfortable feeling when a piece of writing gets under our skin; the disquiet caused by an uneasy conscience. This is the Spirit of God acting like a rock in the grass.

We can ignore it and continue with our important, busy lives. Or we can consider the stone, and allow this interruption to our activity become a turning point, that moment to watch how the Master Builder takes it for the cornerstone - the load-bearing stone that gives shape to the rest of the construction. The rejected stone becomes the stone that gives direction to all the other pretty stones we use to build our lives.

Over the years of my living I have been challenged by this thought from the letter of Peter: to pay attention to the obstacles in my day’s progress. Perhaps they are that concealed rock that ought to become part of my life’s construction. I also aspire to challenge those who live comfortable, uncaring lives – to become a “rock in the grass” to those who live without a moral compass to guide their thoughts and actions.

Pray for the wisdom to discover that important building blocks to our living can lie hidden in the long grass, waiting to trip us up. Pray too for the courage to become that stone that trips people up when they try to construct their lives without giving thought to their ethical and moral responsibilities 

1 comment:

Barbara Shallue said...

Wonderful reminder to pause and consider those rocks that trip us up. Thanks!