The readings for this Sunday will be: 1 Peter 2:2-10 (Make your body a temple for God); Acts 7:55-60 (Stoning of Stephen).
One of the hazards and opportunities of life are the stones on the road. They can chip our windshields or help with drainage around a house. They can be used to break or smash things or to build walls or houses. They can be used to kill people, and they can be used to decorate. Some are a source of precious metals and semi-precious minerals.
Their effect on our lives depends partly on how clearly we see the road we need to follow, and our determination to follow that road. Experience and knowledge also help. Knowing eyes can choose stones that turn out to be jade or soapstone for carving, obsidian for specialty blades, kimberlite rocks revealing potential for diamonds, and so on.
One source of stones is the Bible: many phrases and stories from the Bible have used to attack people, and some to provide comfort and healing, sometimes the same passages for both purposes. My basic rule regarding the Bible is to use it to refine myself, not for attacks on others, though in the heat of conflict I can forget my basic rule.
Another source of stones are families and communities used shared attitudes and beliefs in both ways. The number one source of tyranny in the world is the family, and a close second is the community, but mainly for those individuals whose natures don’t fit the shared attitudes and beliefs of the family or community. Current examples include honour killings, forced marriages, persecution of LGBT people, and exploitation of individuals as slave or sex labour. Less obvious are those who want to move or choose different careers or wear different hair styles or clothing. At the same time, others are pushed to excel, encouraged and supported through difficult experiences, and allowed to express their gifts and personalities.
Our challenge is to choose helpful responses to the stones we encounter on the road of life with Jesus. May the Spirit help us with this.