1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV) – 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In the reading list for this series provided by my church, the above passage was wrongly listed as 1 Peter 2:45, not 1 Peter 2:4-5… That would definitely cause at least a little a bit confusion, because there is NO 1 Peter 2:45. But this typographical error actually got me thinking about the passage itself – “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house…” and the importance of every single stone in that spiritual house.
Today, punctuation and proper grammar are slowly (and sometimes rapidly) going the way of the buffalo. I admit I sometimes run fast and loose with ellipses, hyphens, and the like. I don’t always edit the way I should and the occasional comma-splice gets through, but that doesn’t mean punctuation marks are unimportant. A simple apostrophe changes “its” (possessive) to “it’s” (contraction of it and is). It can change the meaning of sentences such as: “Most of the time, travellers worry about their luggage.” Removing the teeny-tiny coma makes this a sentence straight-out of science-fiction. The point is simple: these little markings matter to the whole of a word or sentence.
As a pastor in a church, I hear folks dismiss their role in the life of a congregation. I also hear people dismiss the congregation’s role in their lives. But we need other people to help us on our path of faith. It is together that we make a difference in the world. It is together that we build one another up. It is together that we prompt one another to “love and good works.” It is together that we truly worship God with “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” It is together that we are the spiritual house, and there are no insignificant stones.
There are no desert island believers. We have a deep need to belong and be accepted, and that exists in the Church. Yes, every church is imperfect in its expression, but that just means that there is a place for every imperfect, broken, and messed up soul.