2:88 – Rocks Are Forever
#faithbites #faithjourney rocks
When most people think of paying their respects at a gravesite, they bring flowers, or in the winter a grave blanket. In the Jewish faith, you don’t bring flowers, but rather a small rock (pebble) that you leave on or near the headstone.
You may think that is odd, but to us it’s how we always did it. Flowers are a dead thing and they end up drying and withering away on a gravestone. A rock is part of the Earth, doesn’t cost anything, and is a permanent reminder of your visit.
In anticipation of visiting my dad’s grave tomorrow, the kids, mine and my brother’s, spent part of the night painting rocks. All with different skills and abilities, but all making something that will last forever for there grandfather they’ve never met.
Family bonds, like rocks, are eternal
- All flesh is grass, and all its beauty like the flower of the field; grass withers and flowers fade” – Isaiah 40:6-7
- He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. – Joshua 4:21-23
We first see in Isaiah the main text for this tradition. Flesh fades and withers, flowers are the same. Rocks are here for ever. In the Joshua passages, we see that each tribe took one stone from the river and kept them on their mantle. Why? To remind them of what God has done for them.
When we say goodbye to the flesh of a person, we aren’t saying goodbye to them. God has an eternal place for them, just like the rocks (headstones) and stones we bring to commemorate our visit. When someone visits a Jewish cemetery, you can see the impact and love by the pebbles that were left behind.
How do you remember ones who have passed on? Songs, pictures, flowers, rocks? There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. Think about those you’ve lost and find the best way for you to remember them. They may be gone in the flesh, but live forever in our hearts and with God
Gracious God, thank you for family time. Thank you for allowing us to get together to remember our dad. Thank you for the strong tradition on placing rocks on a grave to be a permanent reminder of our visit and their love. Be with all of us who are suffering a loss or remembering a loved one. In your name, Amen.