Turn Aside and Look: To Move a Stone

rockvine

I owned a slope full of stones.
Like buried pianos they lay in the ground…

What bond have I made with the earth,
having worn myself against it? It is a fatal singing
I have carried with me out of that day.
The stones have given me music
that figures for me their holes in the earth
and their long lying in them dark.
They have taught me the weariness that loves the ground,
and I must prepare a fitting silence.
~Wendell Berry from “The Stones”

rockies2

movingrock6

What does it take to move a stone?
When it is an effort to till the untillable,
creating a place where simple seed can drop,
be covered and sprout and thrive,
it takes muscle and sweat and blisters and tears.

What does it take to move a stone?
When it is a day when no one speaks out of fear,
the silent will be moved to cry out the truth,
heard and known and never forgotten.

What does it take to move a stone?
When all had given up,
gone behind locked doors in grief,
and two came to tend the dead,
but there was no dead to tend.

Only a gaping hole left
Only an empty tomb
Only a weeping weary silence
broken by Love calling us
and we turn aside to greet Him
as if hearing our name for the first time.

rockvine2

stonecone
a stone pinecone, environmental art by Andy Goldsworthy, rural Scotland

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Lenten Grace — Every Stone Shall Cry

photo by Kathy Yates
photo by Kathy Yates

Yet he shall be forsaken,
And yielded up to die;
The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
For stony hearts of men:
God’s blood upon the spearhead,
God’s love refused again.

But now, as at the ending,
The low is lifted high;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
In praises of the child,
By whose descent among us,
The worlds are reconciled.
~Richard Wilbur from “A Christmas Hymn”

Reading the news from around the world, I could be convinced we’re all mute and dull as rocks, inconsequential and immobile, trod upon and paved over, forgettable and forgotten. I could believe there exists no pulse in our stony hearts.  I could believe we are incapable of love as we turn away from a God descending to lie with us on the ground where we lay.

Yet even the low are lifted high by His descent– every stone, yes even the dumb and lifeless,  shall cry out in community with Him, even the silent will find a voice to praise.  Even my own voice, meager and anemic,  shall be heard.

No longer forgotten.  In fact, we never were.
So hard to reconcile but if the stones have known it all along, so should we.

 

Lenten Reflection–Crying Out Loud

photo by Josh Scholten

So much conspires to keep us silent~
faith as unfashionable,
a crutch for the weak,
outmoded, obsolete,
outrageous belief.

Far easier to worship the earth
or each other
or nothing at all
rather than exalt the
Living God Everlasting.

His name no longer spoken
at school or work,
mentioned one hour a week
by some,
forgotten by most.

Sing of His glory
out of joy and from deep gratitude.
Sincerely imperfect,
we must not be silenced
while we have tongues.

If we do not shout out loud,
nor spread branches at His feet,
if we worry what others might think,
the stones will cry out
and not stop,  as they know

He weeps at our silence.

photo by Josh Scholten