Once, when I was going on a trip, a young friend asked me to bring her back a small stone. She sometimes makes jewelry out of natural elements. When I came back with several small stones, individually wrapped and marked with their town of origin, she reverently unwrapped and held each one, noting the energy in each. Although I had chosen each one somewhat deliberately, my choices were simply about size, shape and coloration. I still bring her stones but am somewhat more conscious about the choices; she has taught me that there is more about them than what can be seen.
The readings for this morning led me back to consideration of the qualities of rocks. Lately the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures have been about King David – both his celebrity and his sins. His saving grace, however, was that he always clung to the knowledge that God was faithful, even in his worst moments and most painful lessons. God was his “Rock” – a stronghold who gave him safety. He sang about that in Psalm 18, quoted this morning: God’s way is unerring, the promise of the Lord is fire-tried; he is a shield to all who take refuge in him. The Lord live! Blessed be my Rock!
David was very successful as a king, a warrior and a friend of God. Today Nan Merrill reminded me, in her translation of Psalm 18 (Psalms for Praying), of what I think David came to know of that “rock-steady” strength of God in him, that positive energy that transformed his sinfulness into humility and his willfulness into surrender. She writes it as follows:
The Most High lives; blessed be my Rock, and exalted be the Heart of my heart, the Loving One, who helped me face my fears and opened my heart to the poor; Who delivered me out of the darkness of ignorance. Yes, you did bring victory over my fears; You led me into harmony and wholeness. For this I will extol You, O my Beloved, among the nations, and sing praises to your Name.