Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

HOLY SATURDAY, April 4
Read 1 Peter 2:1-10

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (vv 4-5)

THE WOMAN ACROSS THE COUNTER

Holy Saturday is filled with emptiness. In that abyss it helps to have something tangible to remind us that the void is not ultimate. So…

I’m at Grass Pad, picking up some pre-emergent herbicide for the riot of weeds that I’m sure will erupt in the mulch path in my backyard. The woman across the counter rings up the sale and reports, “That’s $19.09.”

I hand her $20 and say, “Let’s see if I’ve got four cents.”

I stick my hand in my pocket and fish out a tangle of change, a motorcycle key and two marble-sized blue stones. Miracle of miracles, there’s the four pennies! I hand them over.

The woman across the counter takes the $20 and the pennies, and then shoots me a tentative smile as she remarks, “So, you carry, uh, blue stones in your pocket?”

“That’s right,” I tell her, “blue stones. They remind me that Jesus is my rock, and that he’s always with me, no matter what. It’s pretty easy for me to forget that, and these little stones help me remember.”

She doesn’t say a word, but the tears that begin to well up in her eyes speak volumes.

“I always carry a couple of them,” I continue, “one to keep and one to give away when I run into somebody who looks like they could use the reminder, too. Here you go.” She accepts a blue stone with both hands, and a tear slips down her cheek. “Thanks,” she whispers, “there’s just a lot going on right now, and this is ... this will get me by. Thanks.”

In the Old Testament, the people of God found themselves in Exile. They experienced utter aloneness, abandonment by God in a foreign land. Yet it was precisely into that emptiness that God sent prophets to speak promises of liberation and restoration. Sometimes, in the face of God’s absence, the only thing we have to go on is the faith of another. And sometimes, it’s enough to get us by.

The Rev. Roger Gustafson Bishop, Central States Synod


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