The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,"
Living in Maine means living with stones. One way or another they push up through the roads, grow in the gardens, cover our coast and prop up or hold down just about everything all around us. There is a pile of stones at the house I am selling, and invariably I have been asked by a number of people, “what are you going to do with these stones?” It is a good question. It is not the most beautiful site, many are old foundation stones of value, many are just plain rocks dug up and moved out of the way. They will need to be given away, sold, or moved, or left behind. All of them, though, have been a part of my story. Some were part of a garden wall I built and later diassembled. Some were rolled there with great effort on my part. Some of the stones I have parked near carefully watching, so as not to dent my car door. All of these stones have been used, have been a part of the stage of our life here. Some may be more useful now and others later and some we may never even know their use. But even under the soil they serve to support and direct the roots and drainage.
The image of Jesus being the cornerstone, the stone that was rejected is one that is used repeatedly in scripture. It is a reminder that there are things that we overlook in order to accomplish the tasks we feel most important. There are people we do not notice in efforts to connect with people we are more interested in knowing. There are things said, expressed and of note that are missed because we are too busy or assume we already know what was meant. This image of Jesus, and how God uses that which we reject to build that which is ultimately most important is a counterbalance to our sense of self importance and need. We live in a society based on consumption and yet will probably be best known as a society of waste through all that we dispose of in such vast quantities. In books it is so often the little details scattered throughout the story that seem unrelated and unnecessary that end up tying all the pieces together. In relationships, so often, it is the little things that at first seem so small and insignificant and things that we can overlook that end up growing into major problems that if not addressed can sever the very cords that tie things together.
But living in Maine has taught me that all rocks are a part of the landscape, seen and unseen. All stones used by our environment by the very nature of their existence. We might not like a stone in one place but it must be put somewhere else, or shattered and made into even smaller stone, but still put into a new home. The expression of God through the experience of Christ is that all in our lives needs a place, all that we do, seek and avoid. It is all a piece of our story. Our efforts to control, along with everyone else’s efforts to control and define, only serve to focus our attention on our needs and desires at a particular time. God’s perspective is of all time and all angles and has an uncanny ability and sense of humor in picking up the pieces of our lives and using them to refashion our future based on the forgiveness found in these discarded remnants. The brokenness of the shell releases the seed, the discovery of old items in the attic teach us of our ancestors, notes in a discarded book speak of the engagement of others in the writing. Old foundation stones make for good wall stones and then pathway stones and then perhaps a foundation again. Science has shown us that we have limited resources on this planet and all elements reused again and again. Scripture reminds us that this process of life with such limitations is a sacred path, much longer and exotic than the simple ordinariness that appears around us.