“We need to be trued,” she said.
“Trued?” I asked.
“Trued,” she said. “It’s an old construction word meaning everything has to be in line before you can build on it.”
I called a dear older friend yesterday to tell her an event had been re-scheduled. She has just come back from spending several weeks alone, resting in the Lord.
“I’m so glad you called! Let me get my notebook. I thought this was just for me, but the Lord said it’s for more than me. It’s for you. It’s for His church.”
When she came back and picked up the phone this is part of what she said:
“We are the temple. We are the living stones and Christ is the cornerstone, yes? Well, we need to be careful that our foundations are true to the cornerstone. We all need to be in alignment with Jesus Christ. It won’t do to get in line with whatever stone you are near hoping they are true. Every stone must be trued with the cornerstone.”
“He is talking to me about stones,” she went on, “About cobble stones, about building stones, about precious stones, about polished and engraved stones, about prospecting for gold nuggets the size of eggs. This is a season of building. Personal building first — then building together — but we must become true to the cornerstone and nothing but the cornerstone.”
I remember a hugely impressive stone I saw a few months ago. We stood in a tunnel under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and touched an enormous stone about 11 1/2 feet high and 41 feet long. They called it a “master course stone” and it was a foundation stone for the western wall of the temple area where Jesus was brought as a baby, where his parents found him talking to the learned men while still a child, where he drove the money-changers and merchants out, where he taught, and where he wept when he saw its future. This stone was so perfectly dressed, with every tiny bit of extraneous rock chiseled off, that no mortar was needed to hold the massive walls and buildings together (we were told the temple was probably three times taller than the Dome of the Rock which dominates the Temple Mount now) but this also made it possible for the Romans to dismantle the temple in 70 A.D. just as Jesus predicted. The old temple was torn down within a generation of his resurrection. God doesn’t live there anymore; the dwelling place of God is now in mankind -his adopted sons and daughters.
The stone we stood beside sat on bedrock and was almost as big as a bus, but when it was laid even this giant master course foundation stone had to be moved and adjusted until it was in perfect alignment with the cornerstone.
Another illustration of being in alignment came through Susanne who commented on an earlier post this week. She included this quote:
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”
― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
These words written by Mr. Tozer reminded me of this story:
I once sang with an amateur orchestra made up of members with widely varying skills. (It included a gracious group of experienced musicians who mentored young players.) At rehearsal I found the tuning somewhat disorienting. As I walked across the stage in front of the orchestra pit (it was a concert of scenes from opera) I could hear the pitch gradually rise slightly from one side to the other. This was the problem: the young musicians tuned to each other rather than to the piano which was on stage right. (Since a piano was included in the work and its pitch cannot be easily changed, the instruments needed to tune to it rather than the oboe this time.) At any rate, the concert master rushed in, having arrived late, and picked up the problem with a discerning ear honed by years of experience. He supervised the re-tuning of the instruments and everything was back in order.
Both stories give the same message. When the stones are all lined up with the cornerstone the building has integrity and stability. When the instruments of the orchestra, which all have their unique qualities, are tuned to the same pitch, even though each instrument plays a different part, the result is harmonious unity. When the Church, the universal Church, is in alignment with Jesus Christ, our cornerstone, we are in alignment with each other. We are in tune with each other. We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord.
The Church is not a man-made edifice, nor is it a group of people aligned to a particular doctrinal emphasis or administrative style or methodology or personality. The Church is the body of Christ with all of its members intact. The Church is me and the Church is you trued to Jesus Christ.
The Church is Christ in me and Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The Church is made up of living stones with Christ as its head -an organic, breathing, growing and moving force of love against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ( 1 Peter 2:4-9)
We are obviously not in unity of the faith yet. We need each other, because going it alone is a sure way to lose perspective. We need the concert masters who are part of the orchestra (and not soloists!) who can keep us tuned to the Maestro/Master Musician and in time with Him, so we will be in tune and in time with each other. We need the whole orchestra playing together without rivalry over which section is the greatest. We need the builders who keep their eyes on Christ and help us stay true and in line with Him, (and not themselves!) because Jesus showed us who the Father really is.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16) (emphasis mine)
We need a reformation.