Beloved: Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1Peter 2:4-5
In my religious imagination I find myself contemplating what life will be like in eternity. In the modern world with a sense of the atomic structure I wonder if each of us will be aligned like atoms to molecules; or like molecules that all form a crucial part in the full creation of the Bride of Christ. It seems with St. Peter that he too was thinking in this same vein. For he saw building rising up of individual parts all coming together into a spiritual house. He used the term “living stones” since the discovery of the atomic structure was far away. But the concept is very similar. Each living stone has its individuality that contributes to the creation of something greater than itself.
St. Paul will also use a similar expression as he writes to the Corinthians telling them that they are all part of a body, each being different parts of the same body. (1 Cor. 12: 12-31) The diversity of types is planned and necessary if the Church is to function well. Not everyone is to be the same and Paul will tell them (and us) that each part should be appreciated for who it is as opposed to deciding one part is better than another.
What I enjoy about our Roman Catholicism is that it is really a very diverse group of individuals and groups who have different functions within the world we live in. Growing up, this thinking about diversity was fairly suppressed and we were instead encouraged to think and act in very regimented ways. Pope Francis continues to guide us out of this suppression as he opens ways for the different expressions of Catholicism (and Christianity) to discover each other and see their unity in the Body of Christ. As he opens us up to the greater reality of being members of the same Body some become uncomfortable. There was always a pleasant smugness about thinking of yourself as on the right path and others missing the boat.
We are all making something greater than ourselves as we unite ourselves in Jesus Christ. What it will look like in its final creation has yet to be seen, yet St. John in Revelations points to it:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev.21 2-4).