Yes, the title is a bit of word play, generated by the discovery of this quote:
(“Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books.
Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
M-m-m. Spiritual lessons in the woods are relatively easy to extrapolate. The Bible offers several inspiring metaphors/similes from trees (1).
But stones—lifeless, drab stones? What can we learn from them?
So began my query into stones, and a bit of research turned up the following:
There are at least 120 different sub-categories of rocks, within the igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic groupings. Another thirty-one types make up a group of their own, not fitting those three common categories. One website stated there are over 700 varieties of igneous rocks alone.
Geologists and rock collectors will tell you:
There is delight in diversity.
(Beach stones washed in the surf of Lake Huron
near Kincardine, Ontario)
That goes for people, too, doesn’t it. A planet inhabited by identical beings would be painfully boring.
But even similar, ordinary stones can generate interest. For example, take this little pebble:
Rather dull and ordinary, right?
But what if you put it with numerous, similar stones? What then?
We discover that:
Many ordinary stones together can provide breathtaking beauty.
Within the church that truth applies to people. Regular folks become remarkable as we join together and serve under the power of God. Someone put it this way:
When a river sings, it is thanks to the stones.
Now some stones appear dull and plain on the outside. The casual observer passes them by. But the trained eye detects a hint of the splendor within. And when such a rock is split open, a colorful, gleaming wonder is revealed.
You have to open up some stones to discover their treasures.
Agates of a different nature are all around us—in our neighbors, coworkers, church acquaintances, etc. What if we reached out with a friendly question or two and gave them opportunity to open up? Perhaps gleaming treasure awaits.
Beauty in stone can occur in other ways, too. For example:
A stone in the hand of a master sculptor becomes a new creation.
The genius of Michelangelo gives us a glimpse of such transformation. Out of nondescript marble he chiseled exquisite, life-like statues.
(Madonna from the Pieta)
Praise God that even dull, ordinary people of stone can become works of art when we give ourselves over to him.
God, our Rock, is Lord of stones.
* * * * * * * * * *
I praise you, oh God, for being a Rock of constancy, stability, and protection. You graciously build us into a spiritual house—individually and corporately– where the Holy Spirit can reside. As “living stones,” we too become everlasting and durable, united together with the One Living Stone, your Son, Jesus (1 Peter 2:5).
(1) For metaphors/similes of trees, see Psalm 1:3, 52:8, and 92:12; Jeremiah 17:8; Micah 4:4.
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