Happy Monday, Friends! Several years ago, my church, Middle Collegiate Church, suffered a devastating fire that destroyed our historic building leaving only the front façade somewhat intact. Since the fire there have been many conversations with the local historical commission about what could be done with that façade. While both the congregation and the commission would have preferred to keep what little remained of the original structure, that situation wasn’t possible except at great cost to the congregation. We recently learned that after much discussion and debate, the historical commission had relented and agreed to allow the façade to be demolished with the stones being incorporated into the new design.
The 118th Psalm says, “I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (21-23, NRSVue). One of the central themes of the Bible and of our Christian faith is that God can take that which is small, insignificant, or marginalized and make it great. Throughout the Bible, we find examples of people who suffer from one ailment, limitation, or vice who nevertheless are able to do great things through the intervention and blessing of God. Having studied the development of the church historically, theologically, anthropologically, and sociologically, I remain intrigued that a faith that began in a relatively backwoods area of the world became as influential and far-reaching as it has.
But what about communities and people that even that church has roundly rejected? The LGBTQIA+ community is a stone that the church and the builders of the church have rejected. In fact, Queer people and our identities have often been made into a stumbling block for other Christians. If you love Queer people and accept our identities and ways of being, Christian leaders have said, you too are sinning and perhaps even worse because you are leading people astray. You are endorsing sin, they say. They call you a false teacher. Yet, from these rejected stones, a more significant movement of faith is growing. Audre Lorde said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” So too, the traditional church’s tools will never rebuild the church. The tools of the rejected stones, though, can rebuild a church that is not only relevant for this generation but which lives into the truth of its founder, Jesus Christ.
Are you a rejected stone? How can you help the church’s rejected stones rebuild the church?
Let us pray: Jesus, the church’s rejected stones, call out to you because you are their one hope, mediator, and advocate. They ask for your grace as they put the church back together. The same leaders and pastors who rejected them have left your church a shell of itself. But these stones too will shout and in their calls for justice you will be among them. Bless their efforts, Jesus, and lift up their righteous work for the sake of your kin-dom. We ask this knowing you are a Savior who loves justice. Amen.
Blessings on your weeks, my friends! Please let me know if there is anything I can do.