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Dave Brisbin

Listening to Rocks

When Jesus rolls into Jerusalem the week of his execution, there are major mixed emotions in the crowd of onlookers. The common folk are chanting and cheering as the authorities, both Jewish and Roman, hang back, concerned over any shift in power. Jewish leaders tell Jesus to quiet the crowds, but Jesus replies that if these were silent, the very rocks would cry out. Just pretty poetry? Something deeper?

He seems to be echoing both King David and Paul who said that all creation testifies to truth and can’t be silenced or ignored. More poetic license?

Astronomers say they have heard the sound of a black hole singing: a massive black hole in the Perseus cluster is emitting sound centered on a tone 57 octaves below middle C. And microwave background radiation, radiation from celestial bodies and nebulae can also be heard as sound, as music. Creation is singing. We just have to be tuned to the right frequency.

Obviously not being so technical, Jesus is recognizing that there is unceasing music, an expression of truth emitting from everything around us…all nature, even the rocks. How can we tune in? Paul calls it unceasing prayer, but as if knowing we’d misunderstand, couples his directive to pray with rejoicing always and being grateful in all circumstances. These three directives together create the context for understanding the nature of unceasing prayer. Not prayer of words or thoughts, but a state of awareness so tuned to each moment that we can participate at a level beneath words, thoughts, and the judgment that objectifies and separates.

To engage our moments at this level is to become aware of the deeper connection that is experienced as a sense of wellbeing, a metaphysical ok-ness for which the automatic reaction is gratitude. When you feel the smile spreading across your face without your permission or thought, when you suddenly see in the smallest detail you may have seen a thousand times, the thrill of something deeper, you are praying this prayer. Significance in insignificance. Divine truth in the most ordinary moment when your prayer is your awareness—tuned to hear the rocks sing.


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