I keep hearing over and over again people trying to stress that the church is about the people and not about the building. We talk about “going to church” rather than “being the church.” Well, I have to say that the church is the building just like people have said for many, many years…just not in the way they meant.
Peter writes about this in 1 Peter 2:4-5
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
The church being a “spiritual house” is a metaphor used to describe who we are as God’s people. The fact is the church is about the people and not about the physical building. It is a “who” rather than a “where.” But there is something valuable to be learned from Peter’s “spiritual house” analogy. The first thing is that the bricks need to actually rub shoulders. Imagine building a brick or stone house where the stones were not tightly fitted together. Not only would it let in the snow, rain and wind but the house would fall. The same is true in the church. We need to rub shoulders with each other. We need to be mortered together in such a way that when the rain and wind comes we will hold firm.
Second, this analogy helps us to see the parts and the whole are important. Peter says that Christians are like “living stones” that are taken and used to build a “spiritual house.” The stones are important. Each one has its place. Each one is alive and integral to the construction of the house as a whole. But the house itself is also important. It cannot be made of only a few stones in order to serve its purpose. Just like a body is not a whole body if it only consists of an arm, a leg and an eye…God’s spiritual house is built of many diverse types of people and backgrounds into something greater than the sum of its parts.
Last, Jesus is a part of this house. He is what makes the house all fit together. Notice the verses that follow, “For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”[a] 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone,”
– 1 Peter 2:6-7
Jesus is the corner stone and the capstone. Without him the whole thing would fall in on itself. He is what brings us together. He is what gives us life. He is what makes this “Spiritual house” what it is. If we leave him out or just be like another social club the house will fall.
So realize who you are as a living stone with value to God. But also realize the communal nature of your existence as an integral part to the “spiritual house” built and fashioned for God. Realize the unifying nature of the Lordship of Christ and understand where you fit into the bigger picture of the kindgom of God.