Christ the Cornerstone : Acts 4-4-12

Christ the cornerstone Acets 4 11
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Christ the Cornerstone | Peter the Rock | Acts 4 11

A sermon delivered by Fr Darren, April 2024

When I became a Christian and started to feel a call to ordination, I said to God there are two things I don’t want to do. Well, three things actually. 

I said I never wanted to go to a Cathedral; I didn’t want to do youth ministry and I didn’t like public speaking.

When I discussed this with the Director of Ordinands, he said youth ministry and the Cathedral are something you can probably get away from; but Darren you are going to have to get over the public speaking problem, because it is quite a big part of the job you will be doing.

And all that not wanting to stand up in front of people has been part of my journey. 

I hated doing it when I was a child; when Lorraine and I got married, I refused to give a speech at our wedding because I thought, I cannot stand up in front of family and friends and talk.

But over time I had to get used to it. I had to get accustomed to standing up and talking about anything people wanted me to speak about. Most of the time Jesus, sometimes about my journey to faith, sometimes just about my life.

And sometimes I still get nervous when I think it is going to be a big service, or I know there will be people there I don’t know. I start to just panic a little bit but calm myself down thinking; it is going to be ok you have done it before, you can do it again.

Because public speaking and standing up for something, usually means you could be open to questioning or even ridicule. This is something that priests all around the world face today when they stand up for their faith.

Luckily in this country, a priest is very rarely ridiculed. But around the world today priests will speak about their faith in Jesus, and some will lose their lives for it. 

But not just priests, lay people as well, all people who are willing to proclaim the gospel could be persecuted for their faith.

Acts 4:4-12 | Christ the Cornerstone

Today we heard in our reading from Acts 4, the story of St Peter standing before the rulers of Jerusalem and starting to proclaim his faith.

But this was not the Peter we know in the gospel, who said; ‘yes Jesus, I will follow you wherever you go’. 

The radical person who would say; ‘let me build some booths on the top of Mount Tabor; one for you, one for Elijah and one for Moses’.

This is the same Peter who in the high priest’s garden, sat there and denied knowing Jesus. 

The person who ran and hid. The person who did not want to put his life on the line. 

So, what changed for Peter?

What changed was something that happened three days after the crucifixion – the resurrection of Jesus!

Because in that resurrection, Peter suddenly realised that life is more than just a difficult body. 

Life is about a journey, a life spent trusting in God.

Peter had a Different Understanding of Jesus after their last Forty Days together, when;

He met Jesus in the upper room and on the beach in the sea of Galilee.

He watched his Lord ascend to heaven,

And he was there ten days later when the Holy Spirit descended upon them and they were sent out to proclaim the good news.

These events after the resurrection changed Peter’s life forever. 

It says in Acts 4, he stood before the religious leaders and filled with the Holy Spirit, went onto proclaim who Jesus was.

He proclaimed the resurrection, and that the stone thrown away by them would be the cornerstone of God’s Eternal Kingdom.

gods-grace-and-mercy

St Peter changed as he understood there is nowhere in this world, or the world to come, where we can be separated from God.

Not just because they were the words that were said, but were the words he also believed.

He had seen the resurrection; he knew he would be with his Lord forever and was now brave enough to go out into the world.

He knew his life was now given to God and He would use it as He wanted.

The Cornerstone of Our Lives Today

Barely three weeks ago, we stood here in church and proclaimed the gospel in the resurrection. We stood here as we rejoiced in the coming out of our Lord from the tomb, and the going out into the world.

But, I wonder if the message sometimes is not as life-changing to us as it should be.

Perhaps it is something we celebrate but never really let sink in and become our foundation; become the cornerstone which we build our Christian life upon.

Because sometimes the Christian year can be something we do instead of something we live. 

Something that we think; yes that was a lovely thing to do and then move on to the next thing.

Jesus called each one of us to follow, to leave what we have and go forward with him.

To allow him to be the shepherd of our life to be our guide leading us to the place he wants us to go – to be our cornerstone and stronghold in times of challenge and fear.

Sometimes it is as easy as us saying to God; ‘I want to follow you, take my hand and lead me’.

Because Jesus promises to lead each and everyone of his children who turn to him; if we say; ‘Lord we are yours’ he will never say ‘You are not’.

A Challenge for You

So my challenge is not just for the coming week, it is to look at what we truly build our whole life upon.

Is it something we build on that is of the world, something we think gives us security in this life, but in reality, gives us nothing?

Perhaps we need to look at how we can build our world upon the cornerstone of Christ. Because if we do it is a foundation that will never be shaken, a foundation that will lead us through this world and take us into God’s Eternal Kingdom.

Jesus promises that all who follow him will never be deserted. That he will be there for them, that he will take them safely into his fold, into his kingdom.

Sometimes following Jesus can be scary, giving our life over to him can create great fear in us. But it doesn’t mean it is something we shouldn’t try.

Perhaps it is as easy as us saying to Him; ‘You are our Lord and King, I want to follow you’.

Perhaps this might be something you want to say this coming week?

Perhaps it might be a moment of reset for you to think; ‘Actually, I want to do a better job of following Christ’.

If it is, then give your life over to him and trust that he will go with you on your journey.

Because a life lived in God is better than any other life we can ever live in this world. 

It means he is our guide, our strength and also the person who will be there for us now and always.

If we trust and believe, then the Lord will take us into places that may not always be comfortable, but he will always be there with us.

Amen

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