Can you teach stones to talk?
by Stephan Joubert
Stones aren’t dead. They have ears, as Joshua will tell you when he delivers his last sermon to the people of Israel (Joshua 24). Stones can even cry out, as Jesus will tell you when he enters Jerusalem just before his crucifixion. So how do you then teach stones to talk? Perhaps the following quote from Annie Dillard (Teaching a Stone to Talk. NY, Harper-Perennial, 1992:87-89) shows the way.
“Now we are not primitive. Now the whole world seems not holy.
We as a people have moved from pantheism to pan-atheism…
It is difficult to undo our own damage and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave…
We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it. We are lighting matches in vain under every green tree.
Did the wind used to cry and the hills shout forth praise? Now speech has perished from among the lifeless things of the earth and living things say very little to very few.
And yet it could be that wherever there is motion there is noise… And wherever there is stillness, there is the small, still voice.
God’s speaking from the whirlwind, nature’s old song and dance, the show we drove from town.
What have we been doing all these centuries but trying to call God back to the mountain, or failing that, raise a peep out of anything that isn’t us?
What is the difference between a cathedral and a physics lab? Are they not both saying Hello?”
Perhaps the secret lies in hearing God’s voice everywhere again.