Shouting Stones


April 08, 2019

By Susan Izard.

Rev. Susan Izard in the Minster of Spiritual Life at First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford.


Scripture: Luke 19:28-40  (NRSV)

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
‘Blessed is the king
   who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
   and glory in the highest heaven!’
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’

 

Reflection: Shouting Stones

Our Lenten journey has arrived at Palm Sunday.  Luke’s Gospel records the beloved text of Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  In Luke’s version there is a colt with Jesus riding down from the Mount of Olives.  People throw their cloaks on the ground, but there are no palms, or branches from trees.  In Luke, there are no shouts of “Hosanna” but the disciples do say: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.  Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!”  (Luke 19:38) Unique to Luke, some of the Pharisees in the crowd tell Jesus to rebuke his disciples.  “He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’ 
 
Jesus seems to be saying: “You can silence these words of praise and joy, but even a stone that is solid, silent and seemingly lifeless, will sing the glory of God’s love.  All creation sings God’s glory.  All creation celebrates God’s gift of life.”
 
For centuries, pilgrims who travel to the sacred Isle of Iona have hiked out to St. Columba’s beach in search of a St. Columba’s tear.  It is said that when St. Columba landed on the Isle of Iona to start his monastery in the 6th century, he shed tears because he could no longer see his beloved Ireland.  The beach is covered with stones and pebbles and hidden among them are tear shaped pebbles formed from serpentine and marble.  Pilgrims have been told to carry one of these pebbles in their pockets as they leave the isle as a way of carrying the blessings of this mystical isle back into the world.  If the pilgrim is lucky, she will find a gem quality pure green serpentine pebble that has been polished into sparkling glory by the beating of the waves.  Geologists now know that this serpentine, brought up from the earth’s core 3 billion years ago, carried some of the very first life form on our planet.
 
The Psalmist and others have taught that all creation sings God’s glory: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing … They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.”  Isaiah 32:1-2. 
 
People in authority can assert their power and oppress those who disagree, even execute those who speak against them, but the way of love, the way of life, the way of truth will always cry out.  Even the stones will shout out the glory of God with us!
 

Prayer:

O Gracious One, as we begin the sacred journey of Holy Week may our minds be open to your living presence.  May our hearts be softened to receive your love.  May our spirits be intertwined with your Great Spirit so that our voices and our lives can be witnesses to your Glory and your Truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.
 


New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at drewp@ctucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Iran where flooding has killed at least 70 and displaced thousands
  • For the family and friends of  the Rev. Edward Walker former pastor at the Congregational Church of Brookfield, who died on March 11
  • For the family and friends of Rev. John Twinam, Minister Emeritus at Green's Farms Church in Westport, who died on March 12

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For the joy of working and playing outdoors in the warmth of spring

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

New Britain
South Congregational and First Baptist Church
 
New Canaan
Congregational Church of New Canaan
 
New Fairfield
Congregational Church of New Fairfield
 
New Hartford
North Congregational Church, UCC
 
New Haven
Church of the Redeemer UCC


This Week in History:
April 9, 1959, (60 years ago) NASA introduces America's first astronauts: Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., John H. Glenn Jr., Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Walter Schirra Jr., Alan Shepard Jr., and Donald Slayton. These seven men were selected to take part in the Project Mercury, America's first manned space program. Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space, followed shortly after by American Alan Shepard. In the 60 years since, 571 men and women have been to space. As of this publication, there are 4 men and 2 women currently occupying the International Space Station.

Starting With Scripture: April 08, 2019 , by Susan Izard.