The Rocks are Crying Out
It was testimony time and no one was responding. The plea of the devotion leader rang out, “If you don’t give him praise, the rocks will cry out. I don’t know about you but I’m not going to let a rock cry out for me!”
Directly speaking, when this statement was made, Jesus was addressing the Pharisees. The proper religious leaders were appalled that the disciples who gathered boisterously and publicly acknowledged the Kingship of the Christ (Luke 19:37-40).
“Get your folks together,” they told Jesus. Jesus was like, “Nah, you can’t stop this—if they were quiet the rocks would cry out.”
Over the years, I’ve pondered quite a bit about these rocks. Where are they? What would they sound like? What would we do if an actual rock was praising the Lord? Symbolically, who are the rocks?
For me, a lot of ministry time is spent with young adults who are disengaged from the church. In the car, on the streets, at lunch, in the classroom, and in meetings, I hear the same message—the church has rejected me but I’m cool with God.
Young people are increasingly vocal and resistant to the “rules” of church regarding hair styles, piercings, tattoos, relationships and lifestyles. They (correctly) reject the notion that God’s love depends on how they look or behave. Everyone knows it is bad manners for a man to wear his hat in church.
As I listen to their laments, I am compelled to wonder, “Are they the rocks crying out?” So often, elders criticize parents for not training these kids right. The parents—who were raised by the generation criticizing them—are often struggling with their own pain and brokenness. In some ways, it sounds like the Pharisees saying, “Get your folks.”
Where does it stop? We cannot join hands while we are pointing fingers. For generations to blame each other for the decline of the church is not productive for all have sinned. If our churches were thriving I wonder if we would even notice that young people are missing. I wonder if we care about their current life as much as their afterlife. I wonder if we care about our institution more than their spirit. I wonder if we are the Pharisees who are telling the young people to stop bothering Jesus with their loud music, piercings, tats, and hats. I wonder if we are the Pharisees denying the Kingship of Jesus in order to preserve our rulership.
I believe that the rocks are crying out. Like Barnabas on the side of the road, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us.” The disciples told Barnabas to be quiet but he got louder and louder. The difference is that Barnabas was blind and stuck—our children can see clearly. They are crying out, but they won’t stay put on the side of the road. Will we respond while they are still close enough for us to hear?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
The Rev. Marie Green, M.Div. has served as pastor in the AME Church for the past 16 years. Pastor Renita has contributed writings to the Huffington Post, The Christian Recorder, CNN, St. Louis American and the local patch.com blog site. Her favorite role in life is being mom to Chrissi and Darren (Danielle).