Rolling Stones Theology

I was time travelling today.  I journeyed back to Christmas, 1972.  I had told my parents that life could only have meaning, if I could have just one thing.  I held out in hope that on Christmas morning, that I would open up a “rock tumbler.”

I was an 11 year old boy, and I imagined that I could turn gravel from the driveway into polished gems.  I would make jewelry for my mom, and then I would go on to know the thrill of turning ugly stones into precious jewels.  Somehow, doing this would give me a profound purpose. I guess I wanted to become a alchemist– turning gravel into gems.

This is all I wanted.  I dreamed of having my polisher– a rock tumbler that would be all and everything I wanted.  I was fixated, and just knew this was my destiny.  I would become a lapidarist! Today, I haven’t changed, I am always looking for the right stone.

Opening up our gifts, I had eyes only for my new rock tumbler.  I ripped open my present and tore into the box.  Within 10 minutes I had it up and going.

The principle was simple:

  • Step 1— Add the stones, and the “grit.” Resist putting in too many stones.
  • Step 2— Measure out the water.  The idea is to make a “slurry.”
  • Step 3— Let the machine run, don’t open the drum every 30 minutes. This takes time, and patience.
  • Step 4— A trick– add a tablespoon of sugar to the final polishing stage. It adds an extra gleam.

The Church is a lot like a rock tumbler.  The Holy Spirit places us in a fellowship with others.  We are rough and drab, we show nothing that would suggest a polish or gleam.  There is nothing beautiful about us.  We really understand this.

We join others who have been picked up.  Different grit is then added.  There are special types– some are very coarse and others are quite fine.  Water is added.  (The whole process is to parallel what happens at the beach, but purposefully accelerating it in your drum.)

As the drum rotates, things are constantly changing as they move.  The water and grit roll between the stones.  The stones themselves move with each other, sometime counter, but they smooth out all roughness and coarseness.  Some rocks are harder, and not easily polished.  Sometimes, the grit will need to be changed to speed up the process.  Whatever happens, we need to trust Him to do the right thing.

I really don’t want to bore you with all the different details.  But each step has a connection to authentically spiritual things.  We are a mixture of stones with different shapes and angles. There are a lot of variables, and it gets tedious.  The polishing takes a lot of time. There is the need for patience.  We often bring ‘a thirst for the instant,’ and for the quick work.  Polishing a rock takes a lot of time– months.  And we take years– maybe sometimes even decades.

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.”  1Peter 2:5, NLT

We are all in this process, what is hidden is being revealed.  We may bounce off each other, (here comes that ‘flinty’ sister again!)  But the Spirit is the superintendent of the process.  He will change the grit, add more water, or add others to the tumbler. He knows exactly what He is doing. No one will get overlooked.

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Author: Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alask.a (Actually I have it pretty good.)