There are times were I see a red door and I want to paint it black. Okay, not really but it’s one of my favorite songs by the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger said he wrote it after reading Ulysses by James Joyce. The English Major rock ‘n’ roll lover in me just sqeels with delight in that
But this post isn’t about the Rolling Stones or the song Paint it Black. It is about actual stones.
In my devotions this morning, I came across this from Luke 19. Jesus is making his way in to Jerusalem and the people start waving palm branches and shouting Hossana. They are praising Jesus as the coming king into Jerusalem. There are Pharisees in the crowd and they tell Jesus to make his followers be silent.
“I tell you,” he replied,” if they keep silent, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40
This got me to thinking. Why stones? Why not trees or animals? They were in a garden at the time. Why not the grapes on the vine? Why stones? What is it about stones crying out that would be so important?
I began to wonder about stones. They are lifeless. They are inanimate. They have no breath in them. They are old. They are cold. They don’t move unless done so by an outside force.
I wondered more about it still. Why stones in particular. Why not rocks. What made stones so important over rocks.
This might be a stretch, but my ADD mind went to Joshua 3 and 4. In the book of Joshua, the people of Israel are at the banks of the Jordan River, wanting to cross. The Jordan River is at flood stage during the spring and so cannot be forded like you would a regular river. Too dangerous. God then has the Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant to step foot into the flooded river. The Jordan River stops way up stream and they cross on dry land entering into the Promise Land. God then commands Joshua to have a representative from each tribe to pick up a huge river stone and place it on the other side of the bank as a remembrance to what God has done. (You can read more about it here).
Could this be what Jesus is referring to? To these stones that are a remembrance of what God has done in the past and will continue to do in the future. These stones were to be a testament about what God had done for His people and a promise of what is to come.
Jesus is referred to many times as the living stone or the cornerstone. Could this be it? That Jesus himself would cry out if the people didn’t.
Then I wondered about us. About me in particular but about Christians as a whole. How are we praising God today? During this COVID 19 pandemic, I begin to wonder if we’re praising Him enough in the middle of the storm we’re in.
We can praise God in many ways during this time. I’m not discounting what people are doing now. Singing hymns from balconies and doors is good start. Helping those in need is a good start. The people singing Hosannas on that first Palm Sunday saw Jesus as a king who would kick out the Romans. The Pharisees saw him as someone trying to usurp their power. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of Lords (glory, hallelujah).
Praising Jesus during this pandemic is going to be hard. Churches aren’t meeting like the used to. They can’t. The church goes beyond the walls and beyond video conferencing with Zoom.
Here in Michigan, we’re stuck inside. We are to shelter in place. We are to stay home and stay healthy.
We each can praise God differently during this time. But we need to continue to praise Him in Jesus’ name or the stones will one day cry out and put us to shame.
How can you praise Him today?