Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, people who encountered God would stack up stones in remembrance of powerful moments.
Moments of New Beginnings.
Moments of New Commitments.
Moments of New Promises.
Stacked-up stones littered the histories and legacies of the Ancient Hebrews.
In the absence of cell phone cameras, Instagram feeds, or polaroids, this ritual for remembrance reigned supreme.
Have you ever been on a hike, and seen a pile of stones sitting on a log – perfectly stacked, in a way nature would be unable to produce?
Walking by that pile, you probably became aware . . . someone had been here – and they wanted to mark this place . . . that moment.
This is a human need: to proclaim, “I was here”. The drive to memorialize is written in our bones.
My social media feeds are currently full of “the best of 2022”, a year in pictures, and highlight reels – because we don’t want to forget what this year was to us.
For some, it was hard. For some – beautiful. It was new, mundane, confusing . . . we try to put the feelings and moments into words in a thousand different ways – because we have a deep need to remember.
I think God created us to remember. That we would be both those who remember and those who are remembered. What if we are like the stacking stones of God?
The moments in which we surrender our will for his. The moments we seek forgiveness. The moments we dare to forgive. The moments we trust him, just a little more than the day before to provide what it is we need.
“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple . . .” 1 Peter 2:5
My family spent one of the final days of 2022 on an adventure which led us to a very windy PNW beach.
There, my daughter began to pick up stones and place them in a pile. Ritual is a part of us.
Together, we each made our own pile of stones and spoke our own simple words to God in gratefulness for his presence in the passing year.
And we left our stones stacked there.
So when someone else walks that windy beach in the days and weeks to come, they will know someone has been there . . .
And maybe, if they slow down long enough, they will sense the deepest truth: that God has been there too . . . and that his stacked-up stones look a lot like you and me . . . living, loving, remembering.