Palimpsest: Living Stones

Living Stones

1 Peter 2:4-7

The illustration of the stone is then extended in verse 5a, where it is applied to the Christians. It says that the believers, as living stones, ought to be built up into a spiritual house. The church is not to be made up of individuals who are cold and dead, but who enrich their environment with life-giving love.
The Anchor Bible:
The Epistles of James Peter and Jude
The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.
—Henry David Thoreau

John Burchell discovered living stones in 1810 or 1811 when he picked up a curiously shaped stone in South Africa only to find it to be a plant. Originally classified as Mesembryanthemum turbuniformis, it became Lithops turbuniformis when the Mesembs were reevaluated and classified into different genera. As currently revised by D. T. Cole in Lithops - Flowering Stones, there are over 145 varieties, forms, and cultivars representing 36 species.

 In 1907, a second church home was erected and dedicated on the site of the 1869 church. The building was designed by Albert Schippel. The cost of this church was between $28,000 and $35,000. The main entrance to this building was on Cherry Street. The brick and stone structure, with several remodeling jobs, served as our congregation until it was razed in 1976. The cornerstone is placed near the south entrance to the current building. This (quilt) block (Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church 1907) was completed by Marilyn Birbeck.
Centenary United Methodist Sesquicentennial Quilt Book,

Sons and daughters of the earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness.

You thought you could do without it because the power of thought has been kindled in you? You hoped that the more thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be to spirit: that you would be more divine if you lived in the world of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fled the corporeal? Well, you were like to have perished of hunger.

You must have oil for your limbs, blood for your veins, water for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity for you?
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

· Do you have a favorite stone? Where did you get it from? What does it mean for you, or what does it remind you of?
· How do stone buildings make you feel?
· How can a stone be a “living stone?” How can we, individuals in a church, be a “living stone?”
· How are we built together at Centenary to make a spiritual house?

1 comment:

brad said...

Great selection! Especially like the lithops, the de Chardin quote and the last photo. (although it does remind me of weeping angels, too--guess that'd be another take on living stones!)