catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 6 :: 2007.03.23 — 2007.04.06


The testimony of the stones

We had heard that voice before.

Somewhere we had heard that voice.

We had felt that presence.

And we have very long memories.

You see, we have been around for a very, very long time. Longer, in fact, then anyone else.

But where was it?

Where had we heard this voice before?

And why did this voice, this presence, awaken in us such joy?

Why did this voice, this man riding by on a donkey arouse in us such hope?

And why, for the first time in such a very long time, did our response match, for a change, the response of the people who walked down this road every day? They were singing, “Hosanna” and we wanted to join in the chorus.

This was a different voice.

It didn’t sound like the self-righteous anger of those who would use us to punish and bring to death those who they wanted to penalize and exclude.

While this was a revolutionary voice, it did not have the ring of those who would fling us at their enemies…even though we could remember someone with a voice akin to this who had thrown one of us at an oppressor and taunter of Israel.

But it was still markedly different from the arrogant voices of those who would use us to build their temples, their fortresses, their well-paved roads.

And this parade that was going by had none of the sense of repression that so many parades these days seemed to carry.

Nor did we sense the self-protective heaviness of the temple builders or the arrogant self-satisfaction of the builders of large houses.

In the presence of such people, and in the face of being employed to such purposes, we had always longed to cry out in witness against these oppressors who devised ways to cut off many peoples and to keep the homeless in their shacks, while they lived in their well-constructed houses of luxury.

But this was a different voice.

This was a voice that reminded us of our call to always remember.
To always recall.
To always bear witness to what God had done in the midst of his people.
To bear witness to the promises that the people made in covenant to their God.

It was a voice that called for faithfulness and protection of the weak.
It was a voice that insisted that we not be moved in order to expropriate the land and the livelihood of the meek.

That’s it, or at least it is close to getting it. This was just like that voice so long ago that had written on us words…words of life, words that pointed the people on the way… “Hear O Israel …” said that voice, “You shall have no other gods before me, you shall not make graven images, you shall, you shall, you shall …”

Could it be? Could this be that voice?

Wait, there’s more.

Now I’m remembering. Oh my God, oh my, oh my, oh my…now I am remembering.
It was this voice…I’m sure of it…it was this voice that said those first words.
It was this voice that we heard at our birth.
It was this voice that called us forth.
It was this voice…this powerful, wonderful, life-giving, blessed, beautiful and lovely voice that said… “let there be.”

This is the voice!
No wonder we were full of joy.
No wonder we wanted to sing.

And, of course, he knew.
He knew that we knew.
He knew that we recognized him.
He knew that we rejoiced.
He knew that we recognized our Redeemer.

Here was the stone that the builders had rejected that will become the chief cornerstone of a new temple, a new kingdom, a new creation.

And stones always recognize each other.

No wonder he said to the Pharisees that if the disciples and the common folk and the children were silenced, then “the stones would shout out.”

And we would have.
We would have shouted out with deafening praise the likes of which had never been heard on the face of the earth.
We would have cried out, “Hosanna in the highest! The Redeemer has arrived.” And we would have born witness to his rule.

And no longer would we be used for weapons, for houses of oppressive luxury, for paths of iniquity, for temples to false gods.

No longer would we be stained with the blood of the innocent.

Or so we hoped.

Brian J. Walsh is a Christian Reformed campus minister at the University of Toronto. His most recent book is Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (IVP 2004) is co-authored with his wife, Sylvia Keesmaat. Brian and Sylvia live on an organic farm with their two daughters in southeastern Ontario.

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