…and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house…Genesis 28:22a
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’Luke 19:39-40
Over the last several weeks when I have been outside running in the morning and taking a walk in the evening, I have noticed stones ‘speaking!’ Along paths, bike trails and sidewalks there have been stones painted with words of encouragement, kindness and wisdom. Other stones are painted with intricate designs, rainbows, hearts, smiles and cute animal faces. Along one trail, there is also a pillar of stones that seems to be marking a particular spot.
There are many stories or references to stones or rocks in the Bible. And many times when a rock is used as a metaphor when referring to God, such as “God is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer” (Psalm 18:2).
In the book of Genesis, there is a story about Jacob erecting a pillar of stones to mark the spot where he has a life-changing experience. He called the place Bethel, which means ‘house of God.’ In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus quieted his critics, the Pharisees, who were upset that his followers were honoring and praising him on his way to Jerusalem. Jesus said that if his followers were silenced, the stones would be the ones to shout in their place
In these challenging Coronavirus pandemic days when we cannot yet gather together or be with loved ones, friends and co-workers; as we see people sick, suffering and weary; as businesses are struggling and unemployment is on the rise, it can be hard to see and sense God’s presence. That is when we need to be intentional about noticing even stones ‘speaking’ messages of God’s faithful presence, encouragement and assurance.
In this week, may we watch for the stones and listen for their message!