Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Releasing Rocks

Here is my column for this week.

Our guest columnist is Jennifer Dukes Lee. She is a former journalist who has worked at the Omaha World-Herald and other newspapers. She is now a mother of two girls and lives on a family farm with her husband and daughters in northwest Iowa where pigs significantly outnumber people. Jennifer and I are childhood friends.

One by one, we dropped rocks at the foot of the cross in a jagged pile of pain. Our rough-hewn burdens had names. Doubt. Fear. Pride. Anger. Envy. Guilt. Jealousy.

It's not easy dropping burdens, for they plead hard to stay. We hear them whisper: "You won't make it without me. You'll pick me up again."Our rocks weigh heavy in our pockets, yet we carry them around anyhow. We find comfort in their familiarity, mistaking their presence for companionship.

And these burdens we carry? They speak in a voice that feigns friendship.Have you heard the voice in your rocks, the voice that suggests you'll never survive without:

The boyfriend, abusing you
The bottle, enticing you
The money, controlling you
The addiction, chaining you
The relationship, ensnaring you

Are you gripped by rocks of doubt, fear, grief or shame? Do you know your rocks by name?

Too often, I trust my rocks more than The Rock who waits to rescue me from the heavy burdens begging to stay.

But the voice of Jesus pleads stronger still in a grand invitation: "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

And so on a Saturday afternoon in Iowa, we clutched rocks in our hands and gave them names. We called them what they were -- not what they pretended to be. We stooped to drop them at the foot of a cross, dumping burdens on a Savior's back, and remembering how He already carried them up a hill that still runs red.

One by one by one, we left our pain in a pile. For good.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace. - Helen Lemmel, 1922

God's Grace, it still amazes.

We dropped burdens,
found forgiveness,
sought wholeness and
discovered grace anew.

Thank you Jennifer. Check out her writing on the Internet at www.gettingdownwithJesus.blogspot.com.

In Christ,



Anonymous said...

Could Jennifer Dukes Lee come and speak at Faith-Westwood/The Water's Edge sometime? I've been following her blog since I found it on yours. She does a wonderful job; you'd better watch out! Who did you two have as writing teachers in Laurens?! Mary Jane H.

Karen said...

Craig, what a great article. I'm going to get my kids together and find some rocks and do this. What a great illustration.

Craig Finnestad said...

Mary Jane -

I can ask her! I probably haven't seen her in 20 years, so it would be great to see her again.

Craig Finnestad said...

Karen -

It was a wonderful article. I was thinking about doing the rock thing during worship some Sunday. I hope it goes well and is meaningful for you.