Almighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
If walk into most churches in the US, you will find a cornerstone. It will usually have a date and be a large granite or marble block set into the foundation or brick of the church. If you are ever there for a cornerstone laying or when a church is demolished, you also probably know that these are often the repositories of mementos of the parish when the church was founded.
But this is not the cornerstone of which this prayer speaks. These words are taken from the end of Ephesians 2. In the ancient world and into the medieval times which followed that, a cornerstone served a very different purpose. The cornerstone was the block of stone against which the whole rest of the building was measured and aligned. If you read a little earlier in that second chapter of Ephesians, Paul simply says that Jesus is our peace. He means it in the very wholistic Hebrew sense of Shalom. Jesus is the forgiveness which makes that peace possible.
We pray that God preserves us in true peace (Shalom). That peace is not the peace of this world, for this world’s peace is measured by a different corner stone. Even the apostles and prophets are measured by Jesus. Our peace, the peace for which we pray, is the peace which is measured from the divine lines of Christ our Lord. It starts not with making the other guy conform to my life, but when all of us are conformed to God’s justice and living in the holy forgiveness and love which Christ both lived and gave to us in His death and resurrection. You can live in line with that Jesus, your Peace, today. Forgive someone in His name, as He has forgiven you.