This weekend, we at the Church of the Nativity are excited to celebrate a special liturgy called the Rite of Laying of the Foundation Stone (or, cornerstone).
The cornerstone laying marks (we hope) the approximate halfway point of the construction of our new church. In fact, thanks to good weather, we are a little ahead of schedule. Stay tuned.
Traditionally, the cornerstone is significant because when building, all other stones are placed in reference to this stone, setting the direction and orientation of the entire structure.
In this project that is not literally true, since the building is mostly glass and steel. Here, the cornerstone has a symbolic and a spiritual value. It is found in the Bible, Psalm 118:
The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Our Christian faith tells us that that stone is Christ, the cornerstone of the whole Church. Around the cornerstone are arranged those other “stones,” the Apostles, forming a foundation on which we continue to built, quite literally in our case these days.
Speaking of the Apostles…
We are excited to welcome our newly-ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, the Most Rev. Adam Parker, as the principle celebrant of our Mass and cornerstone dedication. Bishop Parker was ordained Thursday afternoon, January 19, 2017, making his Mass with us his first official parish visit. We feel blessed and humbled to share in this special and historic event with him. We also extend our prayers and for the Most Rev. Mark Brennan, also ordained this week.
We like to say we’re building to create “empty seats at optimal times” to become accessible to the unchurched in our community. On the temporary walls separating the current sanctuary from the new one are scrawled thousands of names our parishioners have been adding during construction. Each of those names represents an unchurched person they know and intend to invite to our new church. We’re building for those names. But all the building is done in reference to the stone rejected by the builders, who is our cornerstone.