The Cornerstone

Blog Bulletin 

Published on: Thursday April 18 2024, 2:15 pm

“Christ is made the sure foundation; Christ the head and cornerstone.” So the hymn by Henry Purcell goes. Psalm 118.22: the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a carpenter, Jesus had a good understanding of building, and used such metaphors in his teachings. Far from being hard to understand, Jesus focussed on using words and images and stories that the people around him would get and be able to see in their own lives. Perhaps that’s part of what made him so beloved by ordinary people, and so hated by the powerful elites.

When one begins a building, there is a foundation stone, and it’s often at a corner. That cornerstone lays the line for the rest of the building. I like sewing and making things – when laying out the material, if I don’t lay the corners right, the whole thing is ruined. When I do lay the corner right, then minor issues tend to be straightened out automatically, or at the very least become visible so they can be sorted!

Jesus is himself the cornerstone of our faith. If we lay his teachings as the foundation of our lives, then most other things flow pretty well from that. Loving each other, wanting the best for the other person, always speaking truth, honesty, integrity. But it’s more than just good morals or ethics, more than “being a good person”. For being “good” needs to be anchored in a reason why goodness matters. If we don’t know why, over time the what slips, becomes diluted or amended to suit the current need, fashion or moment.

Foundations that move aren’t all that great. They need to be solid enough to withstand the tests of time. The building above also need to have sufficient flex to deal with earthquakes. But the foundation itself must not actually move. The foundation that is Christ is Love in action, the very nature of God revealed in humanity, taken to its uttermost conclusion, in death and resurrection, is the foundation of the Christian life.

We love others, because He first loved us. Without the second clause to anchor it, the first clause of that sentence can become wishy-washy. What is love? What does it look like? What does it mean? The answer to all of those questions is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the foundation not only of our faith, and our lives, but our very world and all existence.

Revd. Talisker