The First Stone

stone in hand

I hold the first stone I my hand, turning it over and over.
I feel its heft, notice its edges, understand its power.
I know the anger swirling in my chest,
Sensing that everything I honor has been violated.
I want to strike out – to protect what I see as the very anchor of my soul.

I want to throw this stone.

I want to use it to quiet, even if by murderous force, the voices that I hate.
And didn’t the Psalmist say we should hate those who hate you?
Didn’t he brag about it?
Well, I want those bragging rights, as well.
I want to be seen as a defender of truth – to use what power I have in my hand
To win the day, to force obedience to what I see as your commands.

I want to throw this stone.
… but something constrains me

Perhaps it is the vision of all those cloaks at the feet of Saul,
As he watches the stones hurled to silence Stephen.
Perhaps it is the line in the Psalm that follows the hate-full bragging,
Where the Psalmist hesitates, trying to weigh his own motives.
Perhaps it is the understanding that true obedience
Can never, truly, be forced.
Or, perhaps it is that encounter with the woman
Caught in the act, as they say (though apparently by herself).

I want to throw this stone,
But according to your criteria, I don’t qualify.

And the One who does qualify … refuses to throw it.
Instead that One uses a different power.
A power that can actually change the heart
And free it for joyful obedience.

The quick and angry fix is not a fix at all.

I put down the stone.

I place it on a stack of other stones
Released by those who have, with you,
Chosen love over rules as the first step toward
The world you are calling to yourself
Your kingdom come on earth as it is … heaven.

3 thoughts on “The First Stone

  1. I wondered what you were going to do with the stone. This is a great lesson for the start of the week. I have been holding a few rocks and need to put them down. This will be a helpful image. I really like what you did with the links. I checked out every one of them.


  2. Sadly, I’ve thrown more stones than I’ve held. Some hit their target, and hurt. Most just randomly bounced around, hitting the innocent bystanders. Fortunately, for us, there is One who heals the wounds caused by my tosses, heaves and chucks. And He heals the hurts of those stones that hit me, hard.


  3. Ah, those stones! They hurt if you throw them, they cause damage from fatigue if you just continue to hold them, and when you are on the receiving end, they can stop life, a piece at a time. They cannot be ignored. They seem to materialize in your hands without due bidding. The only way to deal with them is through grace – grace given to you, grace you learn to give to others.

    Thanks for your comments and your insights.


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