Weekly Reflections from Pastor Barnes – 3/23/2018

Saw a rock the other day. Not just any rock, mind you. This “guy” was huge. Met this gargantuan monolith for the first time while on my daily rounds in Columbiana County. I was cresting a hill when I spotted it – a beautiful granite boulder, thirty feet high and twenty feet across – standing within a few feet of the highway. It was glistening and pristine, no doubt deposited at its solitary resting place by a receding glacier. The most impressive aspect of this monstrous stone were the words etched deeply in its face: “Jesus Saves.” Apparently, a wandering disciple scaled ten or twelve feet up the vertical face to chisel the gospel deep into the stony parchment. “Jesus Saves.” I wonder how many folks have pondered the phrase scrawled across the face of my “stoic friend.” Has someone found shelter and relief from the agony of sin in the message there memorialized? Maybe – just maybe – a lost soul has been led to salvation through the sculptural prowess of a wandering evangelist.

According to popular tradition, the Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady was traveling along a gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in England when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he penned these words on a playing card: Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee; / Let the water and the blood, / From Thy riven side which flowed, / Be of sin the double cure, / Save me from its guilt and power. Powerful images – powerful message.

I’ll bet a lot of folks view the stony epistle as pointless graffiti tainting the scenery. How about you? Do yourself a favor: don‘t just drive by. Take a moment to consider. The rock will be there for a long time, but not as long as you. You will be around “somewhere” for an eternity. What you make of that rocky signage will determine where. Have you placed your confidence in the Rock that is Christ? I hope so, but if not consider this article an invitation.