It was when they left the garden that they learned about stones. It was hard labour for them to grow food now, for the ground must be cleared before the crops could be sown, and they must remove not only thorns and thistles and every kind of weed, but also the stones. They learned that rocky ground was poor ground, where seed would sprout quickly, and fall away fast. Then they learned that stones were useful for building. They needed shelter from the weather – from scorching heat and piercing cold and soaking rain. And with stones they could build an altar and make sacrifices to God, and Abel’s offering was acceptable to the Lord, and Cain’s was not. And out in the fields Cain picked up a stone in his hand, and murdered his own brother, and as they soaked up the innocent blood, the very stones of the ground cried out in protest.
The centuries passed. The stones of the earth were covered with water, they were built into a mighty tower and, as men spread out across the world, one man put a stone under his head for a pillow, and in a vision he saw the very angels of God ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven. More time passed. The family of the promise had gone down into an alien land and become enslaved. All through the day they toiled to make bricks without straw, imitation stones, for the futile monuments of a godless king.
Then God sent a deliverer, and with mighty signs and wonders, and great fear, they were brought out of the land of slavery and brought to the place of God’s appointment, where the mighty stone of Mt Sinai rose up in the desert. And He called them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, but they were afraid. So He gave them the Law of his covenant, written on tablets of stone, as bitterly hard as their own stony, enslaved hearts. And for those who broke the law? Stones would be thrown at them.
And they settled in the land that they were given, and their relationships were based on boundary stones rather than love. And they had kings, and one king, while still a boy, killed a giant with a single thrown stone. Stones can be deadly. And God sent forth prophets among them, and the prophets told them that one day their hearts of stone would turn to hearts of flesh, and their stone idols would be cast down. But who believes prophets?
And then God himself came down to dwell among them, and some met him with love and adoration, and some hardened their stony hearts against him. And he trod the stony roads and walked among them, offering them a way back to God, but they preferred their own way, so finally they plotted against him and killed him. And on that stone hill, shaped like a skull, they crucified the Lord of Glory. In agony he died and in sorrow they buried him. And his body was encased within the stony tomb.
But when the women came to the tomb, on the morning of the third day, a great wonder had occurred. For the great stone of death and finality had been rolled away, forever; and the stony law had been superseded. Life himself had risen from the dead, and behold he was alive for evermore.