Thanksgiving for Our God, Country, and Cornerstone
By: Bruce Fairbairn
Two of my favorite contemporary Christian artists, Zach Williams and TobyMac, recently collaborated on the song “Cornerstone”. Sample these lyrics: “Seasons come, the seasons go, they take me high, then leave me low. But I’m still standing on the only rock I know, you’re my cornerstone… Even in the shifting winds you are who you’ve always been, you’re the only rock that I could ever stand on. Through it all you remain… On Christ, the solid rock I’m standing, all of the ground is sinking sand. Yes, oh Lord, You’re the only one that I would build my life on. Through it all you remain.”
Christ as our cornerstone is a powerful metaphor. In construction, the cornerstone establishes a strong and unshakeable foundation for the entire building, whether a small house or tall skyscraper. Once the cornerstone is set, it becomes the basis for determining every measurement in the remaining construction; everything aligns to it. From the cornerstone, plumb lines radiate outward to ensure a straight and true structure. I worked on many Habitat for Humanity homes over the years and it was always a special event to set the cornerstone with the partner family, a prayerful time for establishing a strong and long-lasting foundation of hearth and home.
The Bible describes Jesus as the cornerstone that His church is built upon. Jesus is the foundational cornerstone holding the church and world together, our standard of measure and alignment. In the Book of Isaiah, God said “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.” The Apostle Paul reminds us that we are “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”
Judeo-Christian values and principles were a foundational cornerstone in establishing our American systems of government, justice, and economy. In this Thanksgiving season, we humbly thank God for His many blessings and safeguards provided our country over these many years and through significant challenges. In the midst of the carnage of Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, leaving no doubt as to its purpose and origin. Lincoln wrote “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God… No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
The Lord’s Supper is a foundational cornerstone of our faith. As we share in communion, the past, present and future are perfectly aligned as we remember Christ’s sacrifice, celebrate our daily walk under His grace, and look to the future with confident hope.