Tuesday reflections on life and memory by Andrew Lawton
We passed by countless sheep and donkeys grazing on green shoots under the shade of small trees. It is bucolic and serene. But it is only a fraction of the truth. This thin skin of life, green and calm is stretched to breaking over steep hills and valleys. The earth jumps in impossible angles rising and sinking rapidly between thickets of ever-larger hills and deeper valleys. It is as if the earth forgot to settle.
And in this movement the calm green is broken, and in the breaking are stones upon stones, upon stones. The ancient earth is full of teeth, white and shining. And there among the white hard stones are the white hard stones of memory, the remaining stones of lives lived, the ruins. Some beautiful, some simple, some barely there: all are dusty and decaying. And in this land of arches and tombs, dust and shard, and past remembered and forgotten, there is something else too. There are stones without dust. There are stones that are not dead. There are living stones.
These stones are the Christians living in the land since Peter preached to them at Pentecost. These living stones remember not only the past but live the present and hold to the future. What a pleasure to join in with them to proclaim God’s good news, that Jesus, the man from down in Nazareth and who went up to Jerusalem, is Christ crucified. What a privilege to join with them in proclaiming that Jesus, who went back down to the Sea of Galilee in search of Peter, is inviting us also to participate in God’s work of reconciling, delivering, and healing the world.