There was a young woman who was engaged to be married. Her fiancé had bought the ring and unfortunately the diamond stone had fallen out. She was devastated and searched high and low for it. As she was walking along the street, retracing her steps after hours of searching, a friend came by and asked her why she was in such a state. As the young woman explained her loss, the friend noticed that she was limping and made her sit down. The young woman took off her shoe and as the light of the sun shone into the depths of the shoe, there was a glint of reflected light. Sure enough there was the diamond. Somehow when it had fallen out of the ring, she had trodden on it. As she had searched, it had penetrated the thin sole of her shoe and worked its way in causing her pain and discomfort. But the stone that had caused her to stumble, was now the rock that she would wearing her ring as a constant reminder of the love of her fiancé.
Peter, called by Jesus the rock, has come to know the two sides of rocks and has used his personal understanding of Jesus to transform his life from one of guilt and shame to a life of freedom and purpose. He brings to us an understanding that Jesus is the living stone. The rock of faith. He calls the faithful also living stones, being built into a spiritual house, a temple. Hebrews tells us that Jesus was the exact representation of God to man. It means that Jesus the rock, was so transparent, that the light of God in all of it’s fullness shone through him. He had declared that everything the Father had told him, he had done. Peter also tells us that Jesus is a cornerstone. When we put these two ideas together we can see that Jesus is a kind of a crystal block of diamond at the corner of a building. Every other living stone, every Christian is to be lined up against this cornerstone. And as the living stones line up, they are also to be as transparent as the precious cornerstone that is Jesus. In this way a kind of crystal cathedral is being built through which the light of God shines through. Now we know that the perfect diamond has no impurities in it. The difference between a lump of coal and a perfect diamond is simply that although they are both carbon. And although they are both crystal like in structure, the lump of coal is dark and dirty, while the perfect diamond lets the let shine through. The diamond is carbon that has been crushed and heated under tremendous temperature and pressure to remove any impurities. The Christian is called to be diamond like. Unlike rocks and stones, we are living stones, called out of the coal black darkness into a wonderful light. And we are being processed from lumps of coal into diamonds. And the living of the Christian life means we leave the old life. And that is pressure as we are called to live as strangers to the world. As we reject the sinful desires that war against our soul. And at times it causes great heat in our lives. Perhaps the heat of shame or guilt or denial. We might say to ourselves about some apparently small sin that it is nothing. But if God has brought it to us, it will work through our souls as surely as the diamond worked it’s way through the sole of the shoe of the young woman. And we have a choice. We can either disobey, and allow that sin to work it’s crippling way into our soul and make us a flawed diamond, where impurities distort the light of God in our lives, or we can take out that sin by asking forgiveness, because God is faithful to forgive us. And we can renounce that impurity within, that causes us to be less than our master has chosen for us.
Because the scripture tells us that we are chosen. When you go to the grocery store you choose the best fruit and vegetables. You pick them up and test them. If you like bananas, for instance, you know that slightly green ones will ripen over the week, and so you might choose the greener ones, because you know that in time they will become tasty. Christ chose Peter. He hand picked him. He said to Peter you are called Simon. You will become Peter, the rock. Peter didn’t start off as a stable mature man of faith. He was given to whims and instant and sometimes foolhardy decisions. But he had been through the fire of betrayer. He had been put under the pressure by Jesus as he had been called back into feed his sheep. This Simon, the lump of coal, had been transformed into the shining diamond rock Peter. He had been chosen, he knew himself to be a royal priest, part of a holy nation, among diamonds in the rough belonging to God in order to decle\are the praises of him, Jesus, who had called him out of darkness and into light. He had come from a world of unforgiveness, of bitterness; a world of dog eat dog; a world of injustice; and into a place of mercy. Peter had received mercy from Christ in person, in spite of everything. How marvellous that we too are called from that dark world and into a place of mercy and forgiveness. We are called, you are called, I am called to be a living stone that lets the light of God shine through. Let us be light to one another. Let us be light to the strangers in our world. Let us declare the praises of our Lord and King in all we do and all we say and we will be that glorious spiritual house. Let us live and forgive in the light of God.