Just a pile of Rocks: April 24, 2016
To the passer-by, it appeared to be just a pile of rocks. Something a couple of kids had thrown together while playing along the riverbank, however the true purpose was much more meaningful, even life changing.
In Joshua Ch#4 we read where the Lord had stopped the Jordan River, allowing the Israelites to safely cross. As they walked through the dry riverbed, Joshua instructed twelve men to pick up stones and carry them to the western shore. There those rocks would form an altar, reminding them of this powerful experience of God’s power and presence.
Today was our last worship service at MCC before heading off on sabbatical. We begin the service with an exercise of acknowledging times when we had experienced God’s hand in our lives. On the church floor were a pile of stones. What began as a pile of 50+ rocks would eventually take shape into our own Altar of Remembrance.
As Greg Rice led worship, the congregation was issued statements such as “Do you remember when__________________? “ “Do you remember when you were thinking about starting Milwaukie Covenant Church” or “Do you remember when you felt the sermon was speaking directly to you?” The challenge was given that if a certain statement resonated with you and you had felt the movement of God in that experience, you were invited to come pick up a rock and place it on the platform.
I must say that it was a particularly moving experience watching many people come forward, essentially saying that they “remembered” a time when God showed up. Within four verses of “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” all 50+ stones were utilized. People began to bring up Hymnals and Bibles adding them to the “Altar of Remembrance”. By the end, over a hundred different articles were placed on the stack.
At the end we acknowledged the significance of this event, remembering all the times when God has revealed himself through guidance, strength, healing and power. We looked upon this “Altar of Remembrance” much like Joshua might have done when he said;
(This is) “to serve as a sign among
you. In the future when your
children ask you, ‘What do these
stones mean?’ Tell them that the flow
of the Jordan was cut off before the
ark of the covenant of the Lord. When
it crossed the Jordan, the waters of
the Jordan were cut off. These stones
are to be a memorial to the people of
Israel forever.” Joshua 4:7
I stood behind the stack with the Shepherds staff in hand and stated that the next time they see this staff, it will not be the polished implement that they now see. It will be filled with the “Marks of Remembrances”. Those times when God’s guidance, strength, healing, and power had been revealed in our lives.