As you come to him, the living Stone . . . you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. (1 Pet. 2:4–5)

CORAL IS FORMED by small, individual marine polyps. Following their God-given instincts, they attach to a solid surface and begin reproducing themselves or budding. Secreting a calcium carbonate substance similar to limestone, they form a hard exoskeleton, both for anchoring and protection. This process, carried out over many generations, forms colonies of stony coral, and eventually a coral reef. Polyps get most of their energy and color from the one-celled creatures that take up residence inside each polyp. Generation builds on generation, and the growing reef creates areas of relative calm, protected from violent wave surges. Waters around the reef, once nutritionally poor, sprout with life, so much so that coral reefs have been called the rain forests of the sea.

The parallels are hard to miss. Each of us, as one small piece of the worldwide church God is building up, may enjoy spiritual abundance, calm, and protection despite living in a world in turmoil. As we anchor to our Rock, nourished and empowered from within by the Holy Spirit, we reproduce ourselves by sharing the gospel, and contribute to something magnificent that will last long after we are in heaven!

Find your place in God’s church and fill it.

Neil Bowers lives in San Diego, California, with his wife and children. He is a state correctional officer and enjoys children’s ministry, poetry writing, and wood carving.