Luke 19: 28-44
Verse 40: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (NIV)
I wish you a happy celebration of this Holy Week, and most recently, happy Palm Sunday!
Since yesterday I've been pondering the Luke 19: 28-44 passage that was presented at church. It speaks of Jesus entering the city and a crowd of people (disciples) celebrating by means of laying down coats and proclaiming praise for the miracles that had been performed. Other passages (see Matthew or Mark) include the words “Hosanna” and mention the well-remembered palm branches, where the name “Palm Sunday” comes from.
What has captured my attention is the part in which the pharisees come through the crowd to Jesus and tell him to contain and rebuke his disciples. Jesus’ reply to the pharisees has lingered in my heart, like a seed being planted.
His reply is matter of fact, it is sassy and truthful, and it is a revelation of a greater kingdom. In short, it is nothing less than captivating. He says to them: “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (verse 40).
How does one receive these words? How does one seek revelation in these words and then in turn have a response in prayer? Sitting and reflecting on these words, and then turning to prayer, my own heart stumbled upon a strange but genuine response: a desire to be the stones, to let my heart be the one crying out to celebrate the arrival of the Prince of Peace, the Lord who is just. When the throngs of church disciples cease to cry out, I desire to be one who is strong enough to do so.
As I reflected further on this desire to be a stone, the more I discovered that the metaphor of stones and church is commonplace in the bible. Jesus is considered to be the cornerstone of the church. Peter is considered to be a rock on which the church is built. Building on the rock indicates a solid foundation. Stones make up the solid foundation from which the church rises.
Being in a three-year-old church plant, the place of leadership and foundations is clear to me, and it is important. The solid faith we bring, built with the Cornerstone, offers a foundation that will give good growth to future generations of our church, and hopefully to the voices of the greater church.
In these layers I see something come into focus: perhaps we are meant to, at times, be the stones.
If those voices ever fail to speak out truth, if they ever fail to welcome peace and justice, I believe that the foundations of the church have a responsibility to cry out and provide that.
Speaking as one who has a strong identity in the concept of justice, this revelation of stones is an encouragement to me. The church must be a voice to welcome Christ's peace and justice. If those voices fail to speak, the stones will cry out.
Perhaps Jesus was referring to the earth when he spoke those words. Or perhaps he was referring to those who provide foundation for the church, the leaders and servants of the church, the collective stones.
Either way, I am convicted. I desire to be the stone that cries out: to praise miracles, to welcome peace and justice, to advocate for children, widows, and the underprivileged. Where voices are suppressed by those keeping the law—just or unjust—I desire to be that stone that cries out with the words that make space and give credit to the Holy.