A Bright Sadness: And Every Stone Shall Cry

This child through David’s city
   Shall ride in triumph by;
      The palm shall strew its branches,
   And every stone shall cry.
   And every stone shall cry,
      Though heavy, dull, and dumb,
         And lie within the roadway
   To pave his kingdom come.

 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.
~Richard Wilbur from “A Christmas Hymn”

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said,
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Luke 19: 37-44

So much conspires to keep us silent~
Faith is not fashionable
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
Remembered one hour a week
By some,
Forgotten by most.

So we shall sing of His glory
In joy and gratitude
Imperfectly sincere,
Never to be silenced
While we have tongues.

If we do not shout out loud,
Nor spread branches at His feet,
Or worry what others might think,
The stones will cry out and will not stop,
As He, in turn, weeps for us.


Lenten Meditation: Spread Under Foot

Entry into Jerusalem by by Giotto di Bondone. It is the image of a fresco, created between 1304-06, from Scenes from the Life of Christ at the Arena Chapel (Cappella Scrovegni) in Padua, Italy.

“So it is ourselves that we must spread under Christ’s feet, not coats or lifeless branches or shoots of trees, matter which wastes away and delights the eye only for a few brief hours.  But we have clothed ourselves with Christ’s grace, with the whole Christ–‘for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ’—so let us spread ourselves like coats under his feet.”   –8th century bishop Andrew of Crete

It would have been a spectacle of waving branches stripped from trees and coats being spread in the dirt of the road to Jerusalem.  But it was only spectacle.  Within a few days, it was all forgotten as another reversal takes place: the King of Glory himself was stripped of His clothing and hung upon a tree.

Andrew of Crete points us to the words of Apostle Paul in Galatians:  we must spread ourselves, clothed in His grace, over the dust, under His feet.  We become indistinguishable from the dust, indistinguishable one from another, as His soles leave permanent footprints on our souls.

Galatians 3:27-28

…all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.