As I write, MLK Day has just passed and it is the afternoon of Inauguration Day. Many things are in my heart and mind. I want to share one image, or set of images, having to do with building.
Just a little over 1,900 centuries before Martin Luther King, Jr., a preacher named Ignatius wrote a letter from jail. He was the bishop of Syria within the still-new Christian church and had been imprisoned by the empire for his faith. In his letter, Ignatius pictured the people of God as ones defined and “kindled” by “love.” And he continues, “You are as stones of the temple of [God].” What’s more, “You are then all fellow travelers, and carry with you God, and the temple.”
Along with the love that is so core to our Christian faith and that Ignatius knew so well, the imagery of building and buildings was clearly important and dear to him. He had been arrested, taken away from his people and ministry, and carted off to the imperial city for trial. He was concerned for the future of his church and for all churches. And yet he knew and felt and prayed that the love and caring to which he had been called would not stop. And not only that it would not stop, but that it would continue to build. And it would…through people. People are the stones that build God’s temple, house God’s presence, and share God’s love in the world!
Just about 160 years ago, Abraham Lincoln stood in front of the not-yet-completed capitol dome in our nation’s capitol building and used similar language to that of Ignatius. The building must continue and it must ever go on. When we stop building with and for love and peace, then who and what are we?
Sisters and brothers of Hillcrest—here’s to the Spirit of love alive among us and alive among anyone and everyone of any faith and no faith. Let us at Hillcrest ever be about leading the way in showing people what love alive in the world looks like. Like Ignatius says, we are living stones in the temple of God.
Let it be so, O God, let it be so.