Friday, September 12, 2008


“The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.”

Neil Young - Zuma

I’ve had some amazing lunch conversations lately. One of them was with Gordon. Gordon is a retired gentleman who I see whenever I join with other Christians during the one hour a week on Sunday many call “church” (I am also blessed to have “church” frequently, throughout the week, whenever two or more are gathered in His name. And they are wonderful gatherings). I am sharing this with Gordon’s permission.

While we were having lunch after “church,” Gordon was telling me how it is hard for him sometimes to have faith in Jesus as a friend, and to know that Jesus will always be there for him. I compared having this confidence to how a friend is gained, through memories of interactions we have with a person who proves through life experiences to be loyal and faithful to us (and we to them), and whose company we enjoy.

Gordon brought to lunch a purple velvet pouch full of stones. He explained to me that he has been buying polished river stones at the local Dollar Store that remind him of specific instances of God’s intervening in his life. He related this to passages in the Bible such as in Joshua 4 where it says, “…and [Joshua] said to them, …Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them …These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."

Gordon shared about both physical and emotional pain he has endured for most of the past fifteen years. He said that after a Catholic doctor examined him once, he told him he was “blessed,” because of his pain. Blessed are those in pain, for they shall be healers of others. Gordon showed me a kidney shaped stone. He said it reminded him of when he asked for the gift of healing because of the suffering he has known for so long. He said that the only thing that relieves his pain is when he serves others. He said he prayed once for someone who was sick, and they were healed.

He next showed me a “pretty white rock” which reminded him of Joshua 21:45, “Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”

Gordon then showed me a flat dark rock. He was visibly upset as he shared that it reminded him of a time that he wished someone ill … and ill came to them. Now, he always remembers that there is power in our words, and that we can use them for good or ill.

Gordon showed me a white stone, with an indentation, where some power had worn away a hole. This stone reminded him of the power of God to wear away seemingly solid surfaces.

Then he showed me a small black stone, smaller than all the others. That reminded him of life’s storms.

Finally, Gordon showed me a round stone. A lighter mineral formed an “s” shape right through the middle. It reminded him that he and God are inseparable. One side was light and pure, but the other side had a dark area that reminded him that he is “not there yet,” but the two halves together remind him that in spite of that, Jesus is with him... all the time.

I gave Gordon my Prayer of St. Francis bookmarker, because it reminded me of some of his stone stories.

In his book, Ancient-Future Faith - Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World, Robert Webber writes in his chapter titled, “Recovering Symbolic Communication,” “…in these symbolic ways God’s presence and truth are mediated to us.”

What are God’s stones for your life?


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