Citizens of a country have certain privileges that strangers or foreigners don’t have. They can vote in elections. They can take advantage of government medical programs. They can receive monetary assistance from the government if necessary. They are protected by the country’s laws and cannot just be deported from the country. In this passage, Paul compares the church to a city. Paul explains to the Church of Ephesus that they are no longer strangers in God’s “country,” but that they have full citizenship in it, with the rights and privileges that accompany that claim. They have, in a sense, been “annexed” into the city of God. Just as citizens of a country have equal access under the law, we have equal access to God, because we are part of the family of God. Paul continues the metaphor by comparing the apostles and prophets to the bricks in a foundation. He says that these people laid the foundation for Christianity and that the weight of the Gospel is on their accomplishments. The foundation is what holds up the building, but the cornerstones are what holds the foundation together. If any important documents are to be housed in the stones, they are housed in the cornerstone. Without the cornerstone, the entire building falls apart. Here Paul declares Jesus to be the chief cornerstone, on whom the entire foundation of the building (Christianity) rests.
And we pray:
Lord, I thank You that You have made me a citizen of Your Kingdom. You have built a firm foundation resting on all those who came before me and You have made Christ the cornerstone that holds it all together. Help me to show good citizenship in this community and pay proper respect and homage to those who laid the foundation of my faith. Amen.