Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Impossible Story

As a Christian and a Science teacher there has come to me an idea from a story in scripture. It is an unorthodox idea; a most unusual one. It begs for understanding, for illumination. It is impossible. But true.

It was a high point in Jesus' ministry. He was preparing to enter the Jewish holy city of Jerusalem, to prepare for Passover with his disciples, and also to prepare for the events which would lead to his betrayal and crucifixion. Jesus was well known throughout the area- for his miracles, for his ministry to the outcasts of society, for his stance on the truths of God, not the minutia-ridden, legalistic, tradition-centered views held by many of the Pharisees of the day. People lined the streets at word of his impending arrival.

Even his approach to Jerusalem was marked by unseen spiritual occurrences. As he approached the little town of Bethany at the hill of the Mount of Olives, he told two of his disciples to fetch a donkey upon which no one had ever ridden. They went and found the animal just as they had been told.

As Jesus went down the hill on the other side, a crowd had gathered and they began to hail and praise him, spreading their cloaks on the road as he passed. They praised God in loud joyful voices, for all the miracles they had seen. Luke 19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

In the midst of this triumphant procession, some of the Pharisees in the crowd began to criticize Jesus. “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” they said. Evidently, their hearts were not moved by the significance of the moment. Perhaps they thought that God could only be worshipped and praised in certain ceremonial ways, or they were angry with Jesus for receiving praise that they desired for themselves.

Jesus answer to their objection to me is like a bell which once rung, continues to resound. “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Imagine! The rocks themselves were ready to cry out. How could such a thing happen? This brings to mind all kinds of questions. Do rocks have any form of sentience? How could they cry out?

First the cause: Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. The Lord of Creation. The one of whom it was written all things are held together by the word of his power. I believe this may refer to the strong force, by which atoms hold together, but that is a subject for another time. It stands to reason that this was a special time and a special place- a crossroads of time and space where strong spiritual forces were at work.

Now science, in and of itself, is good for certain things. It is good for discovering the laws of nature. It is good for understanding how certain systems work, be it biological, physical or chemical. It is good for helping us to understand our environment. What it is not good at whatsoever is describing or understanding things spiritual.

Science: I knew you were going to play the mystic card.

Me: I prefer the word spiritual. Sixth sense?

Science: Don’t be coy. No, you have used the argument in the past.

Me: That bothers you, doesn’t it?

Science: Not in the least. I’m right. I’m always right.

Me: Explain how swamp gas can do circles around a helicopter at 5,000 feet, show up only on infra red cameras, then speed off leaving the copter in the dust.

Science: We both know that only experiments that can be repeated in laboratory conditions…

Me: It was caught on film. That’s objective evidence.

Science: Would you let me finish?

Me: Can’t do it, can you? Maybe it was not swamp gas as you alleged?

Science: Sputter! You…. You….

Me: Explain how a dog separated from its family can find it again after traveling hundreds of miles.

Science: Coincidence?

Me: In more than one instance…. Go ahead, calculate the odds.

Science: Working… working… That is not logical. Error. Error. Error.

Me: The fact is, there is a lot that you can’t explain.

Science: Fact… explain… fact… right… wrong.

Me: YOU are the infection! Destroy the infection!

Science: Buzz! Whirr! Help me! Help me! Help me! (Science goes into a massive meltdown, turning into a twisted, smouldering molten heap of metal)

Me: Sigh. That never gets old. (with thanks to Captain Kirk)

Back to the rocks, which we have just finished studying in class. Rocks have natural lines of breakage, due to their organized, crystalline nature. Even the hardest of materials, diamonds, have lines of cleavage along which the lightest tap of a gem cutter’s chisel can split asunder.

The bottom line is this: I believe that the stones which were there along the road would have shattered along their natural fracture lines. Even a crystal glass can shatter from an opera singer- who is to say that spiritual forces could not break rocks on the road in praise to God for His goodness and the arrival of the very salvation of all mankind?

The praise of angels? Maybe. Maybe not. Jesus is Lord. Let God be true, and every man a liar.


Armchair coach

Amateur historian