Our Journey is drawing to a close. We are now in Holy Week. Different religious traditions deal in a variety of ways with the “rhythms” of the Liturgical Year. But no matter the tradition, there are few who fail to sense the increasing intensity and background hum of the Passion of Christ as we approach Easter Sunday.
Jesus, just ahead of us, has just made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord has need of it.” They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting:
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” [Luke 19:29-39]
It has been this last line that has captivated me in recent weeks. “Crying Stones”… “Talking Rocks”. I know that may sound strange, but that was what struck me about this passage. I mean, Jesus SAID that. I’m kind of used to just blowing past that in the text, but this time it stopped me dead. Usually, I just pass over it, unconsciously covering it with a “poetic license” or “hyperbole” label. But recently, I’ve learned not to do that. I’ve learned not to assume that Jesus could speak anything less than the truth.
So I found myself pondering how stones could cry out. To be honest, I haven’t figured it out. My brain, my mind, cannot comprehend how rocks… can speak. But there’s lots of things Jesus taught, that stretch my reasoning beyond the way words are typically used. Things like being born again, or dying to save one’s life, or worshiping in neither mountain nor temple. I believe Jesus utterly, but I also acknowledge that there are times He uses words differently than I do.
So I took this Truth, that stones could praise Jesus, and looked across scripture for other similar applications. In short, I came to realize that there are many times “inanimate creation” does “living things”. All the way back to Cain and Abel, blood can call out to the Lord. Many Old Testament passages state that the blood of the righteous call out to God. Balaam’s mount clearly spoke in defense of her actions. Trees and mountains will obey a command uttered in sufficient faith. All these thoughts and reflections blended together into what seemed a single truth.
That all of creation is a unified whole. Everything “lives” in God, and He is God of All. We, His children, are a PART of that, but we are part of a greater life that is all of creation itself. All of creation praises and worships Him, and while we are blessed to be graced with free will, we are not the only creatures who inhabit His Kingdom.
This scripture seemed to echo:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. [Colossians 1:15-20]
“In Him all things hold together…”
That phrase arrested me as well. He is Life Himself.
I still cannot say I “understand”, in the sense of “comprehending”, or being able to contain and constrain this truth by my reasoning and logic. Nonetheless, I KNOW that Jesus spoke the truth of creation praising Him. There are moments, like in the quiet of the night or extremely early morning, where I can almost hear the praises of nature and stars as they sing to Him.
And beneath all of this, there is great joy in knowing… we are not alone. We are never alone. Not only does God Himself wrap us in the arms of His embrace, but we are surrounded by a creation that is held together at each and every moment in and by Him. We are inextricably woven into the fabric of Creation, and all of that, is woven in Him.
April 17, 2014 at 6:37 AM
Beautiful post LM! The whole Creation yearns for His return; I believe this. Like you, I can’t say that I can comprehend the mechanics of this, but I do know that the Creation reacted to His death on the cross. I know it is the expression of His glory, so why shouldn’t I believe that the rocks could cry out at His coming, or that the Creation can’t yearn for His return?
OK, I’s better stop before my brain turns to mush as I try to comprenend that which is beyond my comprehension!
April 17, 2014 at 6:49 AM
Thank you for understanding and sharing my wonder at Him. 🙂 I remember once being so frustrated with myself, for feeling “dull witted”. So often He can show us the truth of something, and I realize that I simply cannot comprehend it. I shared this frustration with Him one day, and it seemed as if He gently chuckled and offered a comforting thought: That to accept and embrace a Truth in Him that I could not fully comprehend or enclose in my mind, was not a “failing”, it was “faith”. I could live with that.
Grace — LM
April 17, 2014 at 6:56 AM
Yes, faith is exactly the conclusion. Faith. Simple Faith…
Oh my, the implications of that!
April 17, 2014 at 6:59 AM
Yeah. I love Heb 11:1 totally. I can breathe that. But I have learned to adopt this other “working model” for defining faith as well. “Faith is my ability to embrace a Truth of Him, that I cannot comprehend.” It now saves me a lot of frustration. 🙂
April 17, 2014 at 2:43 PM
Great post LM. I too had the text pop into my mind that all of creation is groaning under the weight of the fall. I really have never actually taken the time to think of the stones crying out in any detail. Thanks for doing it. “Faith is my ability to embrace a Truth of Him, that I cannot comprehend.” I like this. Have a great rest of the day!!!