Recently on my trip to India, I was able to see the construction of a new apartment building. I even had the opportunity to speak with the architect and engineers before the actual building began. These wise construction gurus described to me the importance of the cornerstone. They told me that the cornerstone was the most essentially placed stone in a building process. The cornerstone stone aligns all subsequent stones from the deepest foundation to those in the highest tower.
The image of a cornerstone is a good one as we think about our spiritual and emotional lives in community. Scripture, both the New Testament and the Old Testament, remind us to align our lives with God as our chief cornerstone as we live in community. St. Paul tells us: in having Christ Jesus…as our cornerstone, we are fit together by God in community and through this alignment we as a community grow into a holy temple – a place of in which God?s Spirit dwells. (Ephesians 2: 20).
What does it mean to align or fit my life to Jesus Christ/God as the chief cornerstone? For me, it means that I commit myself to the teachings of Christ, doing my best to live those teaching in my life even when it is not easy. Especially when it is not easy, it also means that I trust in God’s grace to help me overcome my fears, frustrations, and insecurities. And, yes, in the process of aligning myself with Christ, I know that I will fall far short of perfection. When I do fall, faltering in my intentions, I try to remember that I am a beloved child of God, still growing, still learning, still becoming what God calls me to be. At these times, I rely on the Grace of God to help me find the courage to step forward in faith, following Jesus.
You may ask what the benefit of living a life this aligned with Jesus as the chief cornerstone is. One of the benefits for me is clarity in a world with many different choices and voices; aligning ourselves to Christ allows us to focus on our next right choice in alignment with the teachings of Jesus. This clarity grants us peace as trust in the power of God. Another benefit is God calls us to be in to community with others who also seek to alignment with God. Together we make up the community of God called the church. A holy place where God begins the work of healing and transformation for the world Here is a real-world example of this type of alignment process.
Recently I heard (through a third person) a comment that one of our parishioners is struggling with “the liberal-leaning” of our church. They told this person that they thought that Christ Church was a “politically liberal church,” and further distressing, they were considering leaving the church. I asked if I could meet with them, but to no avail. Hopefully, they will come to speak to me directly. If I do get a chance to meet with them, I hope I can convey my profound belief and understanding that our church does not have a political leaning (neither liberal or conservative)!
I truly believe that the members of Christ Church strive to live in alignment with Christ, our chief cornerstone. Although we have devoted members who are politically conservative while others have liberal leanings, our church follows the model of Jesus’s community as it welcomes and embraces all people. Yes, we may engage in spirited debate, but in our conversations, we find learning and insight from one another about the various confusing issues of the world. In the end, due to our alignment with Jesus, we embrace each other as fellow Christians and beloved children of God. And we appreciate all who courageously offer their point of view to help us all to be better informed.
Friends, may God always bless us to be humble of heart and mind so that we may continually align our lives to the chief cornerstone of the universe and find in ourselves and our community a holy temple in which God resides.
Sunil Chandy+, Rector
Christ Church Westerly