Cornerstone is an inspirational Easter piece in contemporary gospel style.  Its “open” text also makes it suitable in many settings and throughout the year.

This score is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Click “Order Score” or click here to view and listen.

Available as: SATB piano | TTBB piano



O the stone that the builders rejected
became the cornerstone of a whole new world.

The people at the margins  — of any family, of any religious community, of any society — are never marginal.  They matter in every way.  They are central to the future of the whole.  Without resolution of the conflict that resulted in their marginalization, there is no viable future, only a stagnant and toxic present.  But the latent positive energy trapped within this conflict situation is powerful enough to build a whole new world.  And that is the energy I tapped into when I wrote this song in response to a personal experience of discrimination.

Elias Chacour, a Palestinian priest, writes of the release of this trapped energy in his book “Blood Brothers.”  Presiding over a bitterly divided village, Chacour is at his wit’s end to help reconcile his people.  Finally, in a stroke of desperate inspiration, at the end of a dismal Palm Sunday service he locks the double doors of the church, and pledges to hold the feuding congregation there until they forgive each other.  After long minutes, a brave man stands and asks for forgiveness for hating his own brothers.  The floodgates of reconciliaton open, and, as Chacour recounts, the church is transformed into “a chaos of embracing and repentance.”  And he joyfully announces: “We’re not going to wait until next week to celebrate Resurrection.  Let’s celebrate it now.  We were dead to each other.  Now we are alive again.”  They sing their Easter hymn then and there, a week early, in spirit and in truth.

When Mary utters her Magnificat, she speaks of the hungry being filled “with good things,” and the rich being “sent away empty.”  This could be interpreted as the kind of revolution in which the people at the margins and the center are simply reversed, while the underlying power structure remains the same as before.  But what if the people at the margins and at the center are no longer “dead to each other,” but “alive again” in felt kinship with each other? Then a whole new future can unfold, a future that no one needs to fear.

Peace Pilgrim (the American “saint,” Mildred Norman) once remarked that humanity had barely scratched the surface of its potential.  I believe that she was referring to humanity’s capacity for cooperation. To contemplate the blocked positive energy in all of the personal, communal, and societal conflicts that are as yet unhealed, is to contemplate an extraordinary supply of energy quite sufficient to build “a whole new world.”

A grain of wheat may be knocked to the ground
And suffer through the winter’s cold
Only to rise right up again
And bear its seed a thousandfold.

Never shall our journey fail;
A little child shall lead the way
Whose eyes are filled with a shining light,
To whom the night is bright as day.

The love that rolls the stone away
Gives us life that we may sing
“Grave, where is thy victory?
Death, o death, where is thy sting?”

Reviews (0)


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Cornerstone”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart