When Peter describes the church, he describes us as living stones, built up into a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5). This house is a holy priesthood, set apart to offer up spiritual sacrifices, sacrifices that are made acceptable to God through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He goes on to say that there is a basic distinction between people, between those who are living stones, built up upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ, and those who treat the cornerstone as a stone of stumbling and rock of offense.
So Jesus is either the living rock upon all other living rock derives its life, or Jesus is the rock of catastrophe for those who were appointed to their epic disobedience. When they stumble, the text says that they stumble at the Word. This Word is what we build upon, and this Word is what they stumble over. It is the same Word, with two different responses entirely.
Now everything we do as a Christian church should be done in such a way as to testify to this glorious truth, and that should certainly include any building that we might build. The sanctuary should be an embodied Word, and this means that God’s people, living stones, living sacrifices, should be attracted to it so that they might offer up the sacrifices of praise. And if no one stumbles over it then that means it is not the Word.
Whenever God’s presence is made manifest in any way, what happens is that men are divided. Jesus came to bring a sword, a principle of division. In a world careening into damnation, messengers of the way of life cannot set up signposts showing the way out without controversy. Reformation and revival will not happen to the background noise of polite golf applause.
So let the stones cry out.