On the Third Hand
by S. Dorman
Christians commemorate what’s called Palm Sunday after the palm-strewn triumphal entrance into Jerusalem of someone special. Now the story sometimes goes that this was one of your typical ragtag joyful spontaneous moments.
A popular figure is glimpsed coming through the rock archway of city stone walls, in this case riding a donkey—surrounded by jubilant friends and wannabe friends. The shout of joy is infectious. Seems the whole world loves this man! except for those on-looking authorities over there.
The only ones who aren’t shouting and strewing the way with palm fronds and garments are … the stones. That’s what I’m thinking about here. Those stern stones. They aren’t shouting. They are just lying there crammed together, hard as rocks paving the streets down which (some now say) the LORD OF CREATION is making his slow way (toward the temple to throw out the lobbyists?). Maybe he’s smiling? Radiant? The story says he’ll be weeping when he gets downslope of the Mount of Olives later in the week. Another story says he’ll be going heavenward from the top in about 40 days. Mount of Olives—once covered in groves, today site of 150,000 graves, including those of rabbis, politicians, and Queen Elizabeth’s mother-in-law. Today it’s nothing but compacted minerals buried like gold in the earth, all mixed together, originally from star-particles physicists say.
They say no one’s even ever sat on this donkey before. Maybe this is even more special than your average celebrity parade? The donkey’s hooves are gripping the hard cobbles as they pass and all kinds of people are fanning the way as they mosey along. Hosannah! Hosannah! (What the heck does that mean, btw?)
But those stones! In all this tumult, this shouting and proclaiming over a prophet from Nazareth—well, it’s these stones underfoot I keep thinking of. How come they don’t get to shout? Wouldn’t you like to see stones shouting, carrying on? Maybe popping like corn kernels out of the pavement. Pebbles hopping and leaping and proclaiming that this is the most peculiar (singular) man that ever lived? But, according to physical laws, the stones are too heavy and hard for that.
I feel like such a stone sometimes myself. All tiny dense cold hard. Can’t quite make myself feel what this strange man is all about. I’ve heard of him and all that. He’s special, wants me to know him they say. But. I can’t quite feel that sometimes when I’m thinking of it. Sometimes when I’d like to feel that.
Maybe … maybe….
Maybe if everyone else was forced by the authorities to keep quiet? Maybe then, tentatively, I’d have nerve … and then even joy enough … to shout?
I’d like to think so. I hope so.
Yes, I’ll hope.
But, on the other hand, I’m only a stone, a hard little pebble. And the peer pressure would probably be too much for me.
But—on a third hand!—Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in low heavens and earth, and glory in the highest!!
Stones, I think, can be made to sing. Didn’t the stars sing and shout at their making? At their re-making? At their life, death, and resurrection as new being?