On Sunday evening we attended a solstice cemetery tour.
In a churchyard inhabited by ancestors and strangers we strolled and we paused. The air was humid, but the breeze was steady. An almost solstice evening found us hushed and reflective. Of course, silence carries ground up in a cemetery, perhaps more so in a country graveyard. And we, who were there, had come to walk in the evening light and think on eternity.
Maybe we thought we could focus on the passing of those underground and unknown to us. We would contemplate the history they represented rather than touch in to our shared mortality. Even as we tried to ignore the obvious, we were reminded to remember our human condition.
"Behold & see now here I lye
As you are now,
so once was I
As I am now,
so must you be
Therefore prepare to follow me."
The stones were crumbling that carried this message. Next to them, someone had cut the words into a new stone so that visitors could read the sentiment thereon. Yet it was the starkly beautiful decaying stones painted with moss and time that ‘cried out.’ The shouts of stone are mostly inaudible to the ear, however unmistakable to the spirit.
The message of stone is a word of witness. To all that has been or moved through the land near by, they are testimony. Jesus told the Pharisees that stones would shout if worshippers fell silent, and I receive this as a word for us right now. Throughout the Christian world, monuments are witnessing to the faith. Stone upon stone in cathedral and churchyard are shouting a message of anguish.
Many of us have become silent about the power of God. We move through the world afraid or discouraged. Maybe we wonder if God is really as powerful as we once thought. These feelings in us can become flint that will ignite our prayer and perhaps guide our own witness.
I am convinced that the world needs testimony. A word of hope, a word of encouragement, a word of God delivered in person or by hand or by email. Let us care enough about the ones God loves to risk our true testimony of faith.