A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Few Rocks, A Serene Ocean, and An Indescribable Sky

I’ve joined a writers group, and this past week the director passed around some random pictures; some were of people caught in some sort of emotion-driven moment, some were of beautiful landscapes, and some were of everyday subjects, such as a pair of untied shoes. We were to look through the stack and choose the one that stood out to us the most, and then find somewhere quiet to write whatever was sparked from the picture.

I am drawn to just about anything having to do with the ocean. So the picture I chose was of an expansive blue sky with large, fluffy white clouds, and the serene, unaffected ocean underneath. Off to the right side in the picture was a little building which looked like a chapel, made out of stone. It sat atop a collection of other large rocks, sort of haphazardly shaped and yet they were obviously tethered together somehow, with the base of this larger rock formation unseen under the ocean water. The whole thing was like a little stone island, its roots and history left unknown.

Finding a quiet, comfortable place, I sat down with my notebook and picture and contemplated what I saw. A lot of my thinking lately has been focused on the church and what Jesus intends for His bride, and so my thoughts were directed to such things as I studied the picture. In time, the analogy came clear, as the magnificence of the brilliant, piercing blue sky claimed my attention.

Gazing at this sky, I couldn’t help but ponder the beauty and power of God, especially against the smallness of the little stone chapel. Yet the chapel held importance; it clearly had a purpose. And it was supported by this seeming random grouping of stones that somehow were brought all together in order for a greater mission—the chapel—to emerge.

As with these rocks, the people who make up the church often seem to have no rhyme or reason to their assembly. Each is shaped differently; some with pointy, jaggedy edges which seem to prevent any possibility of allowing other rocks to rest against them. Others are smooth and serene, simply finding their place and resting there. Many have both qualities, yet because of their placement within the larger group, perhaps they never experience the side of a particular rock that many of the other rocks have. Some have gaping holes between them due to erosion from the storms they have endured. Yet tethered together, they play a role in upholding the church’s mission; Jesus has given all of them a purpose in this mission, in line with the gifts and talents God designed for each one. Every rock is vital, yet their individuality fades when the church itself and her mission comes into vision. Each disappears altogether when confronted with the majesty of the Lord, as the church, though still present, takes its place to the side, allowing the wonder and power of God to claim the glory that is His.

These rocks—the people, the church together, and its mission—are held in the ocean of Christ’s love. It is calm, unthreatened by any force, therefore cradling the church with peace. All shall be well, if she does not resist the presence and authority of the ocean. All shall be well if she finds her place and rests in this love.

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