Tag Archives: rock

Compartments and Foundation

I confess that I tend to compartmentalize my life. I have my calling as a pastor in which I serve the congregation of Resurrection Lutheran Church. I have my family in which I relate to my wife, grown children, grandchild, scattered siblings and aging mother. I have my hobbies of running and backpacking in which I engage some of my passions and share friendships. These arenas of my life overlap, but they also have separate time, energy and focus. Not all my friends or family worship at Resurrection. Only a few in my family share my passion for running and backpacking. My life has compartments.

I think most people I know have similar compartments. As Americans we no longer live in a small town where everyone worships in the same church or eats at the same restaurant. Our work life is often disengaged from our home life; our family life can be disengaged from our community life. When my children were active in high school sports, several parents of their teammates became my friends. Now our paths rarely cross. My life compartments have changed.

One factor that remains consistent within all these compartments is that I am God’s child. God is the foundation upon which my life is built. I don’t always remember that when relationships shift and the walls of my life compartments move. I sometimes think my value and worth are determined by my status with a certain compartment. For example, how well my last race went or my last church project or my last visit with my mom. The truth is my value and worth is determined not by the shifting compartments, but by my foundation, being grounded on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock.” Luke 6:48

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge. Psalm 18:2

Weekly worship reminds me that God is my rock. Prayer also helps me stay grounded to this reality. When I pray, “Our Father in Heaven,” I am no longer rooted to my shifting compartments, but going deeper to the foundation of my life. I need to stay tethered to this spiritual realm even as I move through the various components of my life.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being the foundation of my life.

The Rock in the Storm

The Book of Psalms has been the topic of our Men’s Bible Study this month. The Psalms were the worship songs of the ancient Israelites and they reflect both the tremendous joy and extreme sorrow the people experienced in their relationship with God and their neighbors. One frequent theme is that in life’s struggles, God is our rock and refuge. The rock image has been a favorite of mine throughout my life.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge. Psalm 18:2

You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me Psalm 31:3

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

Among the ancient Israelites, the sea was a symbol of chaos and catastrophe. The rock was the opposite symbol, a sign of continuity and steadfast devotion. The picture above captures some of the energy and wildness of the sea as it crashes against the rock. In that moment, the sea seems victorious, but the wave recedes and the rock remains.

In our life, we are often hit with waves of wild chaotic energy that threatens to destroy us. It can be moments of grief when we remember a loved one who has died. It can be the sudden change in the marketplace when our job or career takes a beating. Or the wave might be a diagnosis of some health issue that causes our life to spin. Or it can be a relationship that suddenly shifts in a difficult, unexpected way.

Or sometime it is the chaos we created within ourselves by the bad choices we made.

In the moment we seem overwhelmed; but we need to remember that God remains our rock, our fortress in the midst of the challenges. God is steadfast.

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. Psalm 62:5-7

God remains the ultimate source of peace, calm and hope.

Lord Jesus, be my rock and fortress today and always.

Rock of Ages

Friend and parishioner, Glenn Jorenby, has been an avid photographer most of his life.  His recent picture of boulders in the BWCA caught my eye as I enjoyed his new website, travelinglightimages.  I have posted on rocks before, but they are such a rich image that I had to return.

Rocks get a bad rap. We often describe a difficult transition as a “rocky road” and an impossible task or person as an “immovable rock.” Yet for the psalmist, the rock became a powerful symbol of God’s strength and faithfulness.

God alone is my rock and my salvation.  (Psalm 62:2)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. (Psalm 18:2)

During the exodus from Egypt when the Israelites complained about thirst, God commanded Moses to strike a rock and water flowed out (Numbers 20:8).  In the book of Acts, Peter (the ROCK) preached, “Jesus is  “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.'” (Acts 4:11).   Rocks and stones are symbols of God’s trustworthiness.

As a kid, I was fascinated by rocks. The ocean beach at Port Angeles, my childhood home, was lined with rocks of all sizes. I had a habit of picking out a special stone and carrying it home as a reminder of my trip to the beach. Now when I back pack in the mountains, I often pick out a stone by which to remember the trip.  My rock collection continues to grow, as does my trust in God’s strength and mercy.

What image of God gives you strength and hope?

Jesus, be the rock of strength in my life. Amen.

The Rock

Raise Your Ebenezer

Our house has a large granite rock in our backyard. Over two feet high, it is not something easily moved. It may have been there since the house was constructed or perhaps since the glaciers covered Minnesota. The rock is a pain to mow around, but it is a marker in our yard.

Several years after we moved into our house, I looked out the window one day and saw a young boy sitting on the rock. At first I did not recognize him as one of the neighborhood children, but when his mother walked over and called him, I knew who he was. He was the son of the former owner of our house. The son had come back to see, touch, and sit upon the rock that had long been his.  I sensed that he received some strength and comfort in that visit to the rock.

In Israel, large rocks were very common and became part of their faith language. In I Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel invokes God’s help to lead the Israelites in victory over the Philistines. He marks the victory by raising a stone marker.

Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.” I Samuel 7:12

In Psalm 18:2 rock is used a symbol of strength and security, where we can find safety.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge.

Jesus uses the image of a rock to describe his teachings and how we are to rely on his teachings as a firm foundation:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (Matt 7:24)

Paul, using the story from Exodus when Moses provided water to the thirsty Israelites in the wilderness, described Jesus as the Rock from which comes spiritual water:

For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. (I Cor 10:4).

How is a rock a helpful image of God for you? Would you use a different image today?

Lord Jesus, be my rock and fortress today.