A little preface: From time to time, I deliver the children's sermon at our church - no big deal, other people do as well but I think it is a nice thing to recognize that the Spirit doesn't speak only through one designated person. I'm not the greatest at public speaking so while I appreciate the chance to share my thoughts, there's always the racing heartbeat and the fumbling with the sound system to contend with. There's also those days leading up to Sunday, the trying to shoehorn my thoughts into the planned service or make my words match the liturgy. I do like matching, and I do like things well-planned out but the best sermons are usually those that leave some room for serendipity. Whether I stop trying so hard to match the theme of the week or when I don't cling so hard to whatever plan is rolling around in my brain, usually that's when something magic happens.
For this week, the theme of the service was planet earth and interconnectedness, but I went off on my tangent of rocks and geologic time. I've been thinking about it all week - first marbled some paper to make paper rocks, but then dumped out some bowls of rocks to find some to bring to the service. It was only on Friday night that I decided on not just any rocks but on heart-shaped rocks. So I go merrily along my way, only to find out after the fact that one of the matriarchs of the congregation, who died on July 22, collected... wait for it.... heart-shaped rocks. For real?! I love it.
Well, anyway, here's this morning's sermon:
I couldn’t believe my luck when Pastor Sonja told me that the focus of our Creation Liturgy this week is Planet Earth. Because you know what I studied in college? EARTH Science. And I know that a lot of times we talk about Planet Earth and we think about the plants and flowers and trees, the wind, the air, the oceans, the birds and bugs and cats and dogs and all the living creatures. But honestly, when I think about the earth, I think about the rocks.
It’s a funny thing, I suppose, because rocks can bring a lot of difficulty into our lives. Like, have you ever been walking along and you get a little pebble stuck in your shoe? and you don’t really want to stop and take it out so you just try to shake your foot around to get it out but it is stuck there and you are trying to walk but it keeps poking your foot?
Rocks are hard. cold. sharp. uncomfortable. unyielding.
People throw stones and it is not a nice thing.
But have you ever been walking along looking at rocks and found a rock like this? It really looks a lot like a heart to me. And it feels like a message of love that’s coming to me across time. Imagine all that had to take place or not take place in order to come to standing on a path with a heart-shaped rock at my feet.
Because when I pick up a rock, there’s so much that I think about.
about little particles that coalesce into big solid rocks,
and big solid rocks that tumble and rumble and turn into little particles,
about hard edges that turn into round pebbles
about the way that little drops of water can wear away even the hardest stone
about the immensity of time that passes as lava cools underground, is lifted to the surface, and then breaks it down into just the right size of a stone to fit in the palm of your hand.
So much time. More than anything, rocks give me perspective on time. Rocks make me feel both really small and really special. When you go about your regular day, sometimes it can seem like time is going quickly and sometimes it seems like time is going slowly. But that is NOTHING compared to the amount of time that a rock sees. That is NOTHING compared to God’s time. In God’s time, we talk about the first day, the second day. But all that happens in one of God’s days? It clearly can’t be just 24 hours long.
This moment that we are in is just the tiniest smidgen of a moment in all of time, it’s really nothing to a rock or to God, and yet somehow this moment is ours. Here we are, out of all the possible paths and twists and turns, out of all the time that has passed since a rock first started out as molten lava or particles condensing in the ocean, out of all the time that has passed since the first day.
We are. You are. I am. What will we choose to do with our moment?
So why don’t you join me in a prayer:
Dear God, as we walk along our path
help us watch for the rocks that are hard, sharp, smooth, sparkly
help our hard edges be worn down by water and time
help us to see the hearts that lie open at our feet
help us open our eyes to see the world in a grain of sand
help us remember the smallness of this moment in all of time
help us remember the preciousness of this moment in all of possibility