• Brad Riley

Rocks for Jocks

Hear my cry, O God, * and listen to my prayer. I call upon you from the ends of the earth with heaviness in my heart; * set me upon the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:1-2

Read Psalm 61

The Western Wall of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem


I think rocks are fascinating. They can be so great in size they can’t be moved. What a great metaphor for our faith in God. Our faith in Jesus Christ can grow so big and strong that it can’t be moved. When temptation comes, our rock of faith can be so big and strong that it doesn’t crumble and start an avalanche in our lives; a downward spiral into sin. Rocks are great aren’t they?

My fascination with rocks began in college, where the only science class I took was Geology. It was called, “Rocks for Jocks”. No, I wasn’t an athlete, but it was considered the easiest science class to take. It was supposed to be so easy that even “dumb jocks” could pass it. Well, that was good enough for me. I never was good at science. However, I really enjoyed the class. I was fascinated to learn how rocks form deep in the earth over millions of years and have, in some cases been raised to the surface through eruptions and erosions.

The soil in Jerusalem is very rocky. At the base of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, there is church built over and around a rock. That rock is believed to be the very rock were Jesus prayed in agony on the night of His arrest. To get to the church you pass through the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus often went to pray. It was in those times of prayer that Jesus’ own faith in His Father was formed and strengthened.

Christ in Agony Mosaic


As I visited the Church of the Agony in Gethsemane, I knelt to pray in front of that rock. It was once a massive boulder, now shrouded by the church built around it. You can see only the top of the rock as it protrudes through the floor in front of the Altar. Above the Altar, on the back wall of the church there is a mosaic of Christ kneeling upon the rock in prayer…in agony.

Rock of Agony in front of the Altar, Church of All Nations “Agony”, Gethsemane


As you journey through Lent, I hope you will find times and places where you too can climb and kneel upon a rock of prayer. Climbing to a high place in prayer represents our reaching Heavenward, lifting our souls to God. Be creative in your prayer times this Lent. Perhaps there is a “Gesthemane” near you where you can get a way and pray. There may not be a giant rock to climb upon, but no matter where you are, you always have the rock of faith that is Jesus. It’s on Him, our solid rock, that we like the Psalmist, plead for God to set us upon.

Shalom,

Pastor Brad

My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,     and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV

#agony #Gethsemane #Lent #Prayer #Geology #Rocks

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