Friday, November 28, 2008

Anna and Jack on Thanksgiving, right before we headed out to Nan's

The Stone

Lately Anna has been collecting rocks. I know, that sounds like it could be very cool and in fact, some folks I’m sure have incredible rock collections filled with unique and highly interesting specimens, but that’s not what Anna’s doing… no, she just picks up regular old, random bits of gravel and gives them cool names like, “The Golden Stone.” I understand why she loves baby dolls and stuffed animals… I mean, they’re soft and cute, but why rocks?

Well, she may be onto something. Rocks may be cooler than I once thought. See, I have been thinking this week about the stone that rolled away from the entrance of the tomb where Jesus was buried. We don’t know a whole lot about that stone… Mark says that it was “very large,” while Matthew tells us it was “big” and that the guards posted at the tomb put a seal on it. We know that as evening approached on Friday, Joseph of Arimathea rolled it in front of the rock-hewn tomb after they laid Jesus’ body there, and that’s pretty much it until Sunday morning. I have been thinking about that Friday through Sunday morning… what dark days those must have been. I bet they were gloomy, soggy and gray days. The disciples were huddled up in secret wondering if they were next and for the first time since it was made, the world was without Christ.

I wonder what that stone was thinking… I know, I know, rocks aren’t alive. They don’t have brains and therefore cannot think, but suspend all that for just a minute and hang with me. Just a week before all this happened Jesus told some guys that if people stopped praising Him, the rocks would cry out. Was Jesus anthropomorphizing? Was He speaking figuratively, knowing that there would always be people praising Him? I don’t think so. I think He was serious. I think that if everyone on earth were to stop praising the Lord, rocks would start singing! If Jesus had obeyed the priests during the triumphal entry and told all the people to stop praising, I believe the limestone and granite of Jerusalem would have invented Rock n Roll long before Elvis ever entered the building.

So, what was that stone thinking as it sat there all sealed up, flanked by guards from Friday night through Sunday morning? Just about everyone who loved Jesus spent those days cowering in fear instead of lifting up praise… was every tongue on earth silent? What if that stone was getting ready to sing? What if it was champing at the bit to declare the praises of the One who came and died? What if that stone started shaking and creaking a little bit by Saturday afternoon? What if, in the middle of the night it just started moving a little and straining at its seal as dawn approached? Matthew 28 says that, “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”

Matthew tells us that the guards were so afraid that they passed out as if they were dead. Of course they did! They had been standing there with that freaky stone creaking and shifting all night long! Matthew says the angel rolled the stone back and then sat on it. I bet he didn’t have to push very hard. In fact, I bet he sat on it to keep it from rolling away at a break-neck speed, coursing through every little town to sing out, “Death is done and Christ has won!” While everyone was crying and full of despair, a stone said it first. It sat beside an empty tomb. The tomb wasn’t really even a tomb anymore. The death was gone, the seal was broken and the light was shining in. I want to be like that stone! I want to be the first one to declare it today! I want to be different than I was… Don’t you?

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