One of the most compelling transformational influences of the Ekklessia is functional unity. Scripture uses several images to help us understand unity. Two of the most powerful are the images of stones in a house and the different members of a body.
1 Peter 2:4-5 says: As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
What are living stones and how can stones be living? When we think of stone walls we often think of neat rows where all the stones are the same size and shape, stacked on top of each other and held together by mortar. We often have the same image in mind when we think of unity in the church or Ekklessia. Sameness does not mean unity. In fact, there can only be unity between things that are distinct.
I have been privileged to make several trips to Peru and marveled at the stone work of the ancient Incan builders. Their ability to fit together the individual stones in perfect unity where one fills the hollow of another is for me, a beautiful picture of “living stones”. As you can see in this picture, these walls are unique, artistic and functional and remarkably do not use mortar! Because each stone is a distinct shape fitted with compound angles, they actually draw closer together causing the wall to become stronger when put under stress (such as violent shaking in an earthquake).
There are so many other lessons that this exceptional construction illustrates, but what is most important is that even though the wall is made of stone it appears to be almost fluid and organic. This is a powerful representation of Paul’s description of the distinctive roles that each member of the body of Christ has in Romans 12:4-6:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
No single member of the Ekklessia can do everything and not all members have the same purpose but, we do all have the same mission. Our call is to function together in unity as we are being built (active & progressive) together into a spiritual house to bring the Kingdom of God where the kingdom of darkness is entrenched.