One of the more interesting words that Jesus ever says, He says in response to the Pharisees as He's coming into Jerusalem for the last time. The people have lined the streets and are shouting His praises - Hosanna! Hosanna! - and the Pharisees tell Him to quiet them down. He turns to them and says,
If they were quiet, the rocks would cry out.
I don't know if that's exactly a good translation or not. Creation doesn't wait on us to be silent before it praises the Lord; we hear elsewhere that all creation praises Him, that all creation cries out His name. It's just that until we're quiet, we can't really hear it.
We are so good at talking about God. We're so good at filling what seems like empty space with words. We pontificate about who God is, what He means, what He desires from us. We question who we are, trying to figure out from the mirror who He is. We have opinions on every beautiful thing like grace. Like love.
We shout out His name when it behooves us to shout out His name, when it serves some reason of ours. When we need Him. Or when we want Him. More often in pretense than in piety, more often in petition than praise.
We line the roads and make a show of it, but have you noticed something? When the people of Jerusalem lined their streets to welcome the King, even the Pharisees turned out. They were there, right in the thick of it all. Because they spoke to Him from the crowds. They spoke to Him from the streets. So all this show we're putting on? It doesn't make us necessarily the faithful; sometimes, we're still the Pharisee.
And all this show, all this pomp, all this circumstance, for what? Did Jerusalem know the Son of God was near because there was shouting on the streets? Because there were palm branches on the road? Because cries of Hosanna! echoed through her marketplaces? No. It wasn't until the earth shook, the curtain tore, and the rocks, the graves, split open that people understood who this Jesus really was.
It wasn't until man was silent and the rocks cried out that people knew. Truly this...is the Son of God.
First, we are told that if we were quiet, the rocks would speak. Then we were quiet, and the rocks spoke a greater testimony than all our words could have given us.
It's easy to think that this faithful life is about knowing the right thing to say, about finding the right words for God. To praise Him, to teach about Him, to tell the world who this God of ours is. But that's not it at all. The faithful life is about learning to listen. It's about hearing what Creation itself has to say about its Creator, what the rocks and the hills and the flowers and the trees and the clouds and the sun and the moon and millions of stars have to say when they cry out.
And they are crying out.
If we'd just be quiet for a minute, we would hear it....