The Stones Would Cry Out
Call me a romantic, but I love those places in the Bible that present the created world as an instrument which responds to the touch of God.
The literary term for this sort of language is "personification," assigning an inanimate object human personality traits, but I revel in defying theological convention and interpreting poetry as straight up, logical truth.
Because as stodgy and tight-lipped as some of the literalists can be, I never see them milking passages like these for their riches:
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)
Haha! Can you see it? Three great, green, Appalachian hills rising up, opening their bearded mouths. Italian tenors! Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him, all creatures here below!"
The sugar maples, giddy as children at an Independence Day parade, jumping up and down, squealing, smacking their leaves together, and shaking one another by the shoulders. "Look there! Look there!"
Or take this verse:
“He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’”
A square Marine block of granite rumbling, in full salute from the diaphragm. "Attten-hut!" The Messiah is passing. The cobblestone babies roll over in their tight little beds and yawn. Pillars of slender marble recite the affirmations of a Greek chorus. “He is the Promised One!”
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?”
All creation, including my cranky kneecaps (“Come, Lord Jesus”), my quadriceps tendon that whines and shivers (“How much longer?”), that hot, left sciatic nerve, my inner wailing Jeremiah. My sagging, middle-aged face, sighing into the mirror and reciting the story of the Transfiguration.
Thanks be to God.
Tolkien wrote in The Silmarillion:
“Therefore he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and should find no rest therein.”
Perhaps we ache because we are part of a world that is, itself, seeking completion. Perhaps it even remembers what we have forgotten.