Friday, December 10, 2010

House of God

There's a fellow who goes to my church who is a giant of a guy--at least I feel like a dwarf when I stand beside him. He's got some fascinating tattoos and piercings and a giant-sized heart too. All week long he works with homeless and destitute people. He drives a fair bit to get to our little church to sit in a traditional wooden pew within spitting distance of men in suits and ties.

It's human nature to prefer to hang out with people most like ourselves--people who dress like us, think like us, and like what we like. Christians could possibly be the worst offenders when it comes to this. I asked my friend why he chooses to come so far to hang out with people he could easily judge as being "stuffed shirts". His response thrilled me: I feel loved here.

The human race may have descended from one man, but they're an irregular, variable, and quirky lot--just the way God planned it.

You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
(1 Peter 2:5a)

Living stones, not bricks. Each one completely unique, not out of the same mold.

Sometimes we act like His plan is to build His home out of uniform bricks and we try to squish everyone into the same mold. We seem to think it'd be more comfortable and it probably would be more tidy, but it wouldn't have the same kind of allure. A master craftsman knows how to emphasize the beauty of individual stones. The finished product is breathtaking and one-of-a-kind.

There's a special kind of mortar required to hold all these irregular stones together. It's not tolerance. Tolerance is the best idea humans could come up with and it's a noble one, but it's mere cotton candy compared to the real thing. "God's love in us..." (I Cor. 13 MSG) is the real deal. It's something supernatural and amazing, not of our own strength, but of our choosing to align ourselves with His will and His thoughts. He regards each unique "stone" as created in His image and worthy of His love.

You are members of God's family.
Together, we are his house...and the cornerstone is Jesus himself.
We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
Through him you...are also being made part of this dwelling
where God lives by his Spirit.
(Eph. 2: 19-22)

That "unconventional" stone that's been making you uncomfortable is exquisite in the eyes of the Master. He may have plans to chip away the odd corner, but that's His job and His motivation isn't to make you more comfortable--He wants to enhance the natural beauty of that "stone" and thereby make His home more lovely. He feels the same way about you: you're beautifully unique and an essential part of His home.

Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God
and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
(1 Cor 3:16)

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,
by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to live in harmony with each other.
(1 Cor. 1:10)