I have piles of rocks around my office. I have piles of rocks outside my window. Some of the rocks I gathered a year ago as part of a spiritual practice in gathering rocks. Some of you participated. Other rocks are from places that I’ve been and my friends have been. But now there are rocks on my desk and shelf that I cannot connect back to specific locations and events.
I understand that they are just rocks, low-cost souvenirs. But the reason I gather them is to remind me of moments and prompt me to pray. And without the stories, I end up doing neither.
God taught Joshua and me the importance of stones and stories.
The Israelites were ready to end their tour of the Sinai wilderness. They had crossed the God-dried normally-flooded Jordan River. Before the water came back, God told Joshua to tell a dozen men to each pick up a rock from the middle of the river. So Joshua told the men, and then explained, “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.”
The rocks prompted the question. The parents had the answers.
But you have to remember the stories. And the way to do that is to pick up the rocks and tell the stories.
During the next month, as you review the year, pick up rocks and tell stories. Find the stone you picked up on your trip to Nepal or New Jersey. Tell the story of the bonfire on the beach. Find the stone from the cemetery and tell the story of her life.
It’s a way to remember God and others.