Written on September 13, 2015. By Shari Norvell
With sundowns approach this evening, comes the ushering in of my favorite of times and seasons. For with the sun’s set comes a new moon, a new year, fresh awe surrounded by the newness of who we have become through allowing Pappa to be all He longs to be. Within the season will be a day of imagination, forgiveness, that allows us to see all through His most perfect eyes. Erupting from that day will be Jubilee, a climatic term many of us have never encountered. Unlike the feasts that linger for their appointed time, Jubilee will dwell with us for a year and if we choose, never leave.
Sukkot will remind us during its eight day stay.
But tonight, it all begins with the shofar cresent of the moon, calling out, lighting our way. In in milky glow, we will see Rosh Hoshanah. We will become it, blowing our trumpets, announcing we know who our King is and receiving Him as he bends low to receive the crown of our love and His identity.
As sundown lays itself like a blanket upon the treetops, our family will stand upon a river bank, hemmed in by the cathedral of creation and cast our stones into the river Splendor. A river that waxed and waned in the year that bids adieu, just like the moon.
When we first began to celebrate Rosh Hoshana, I would collect as many stones as I could find. I felt a bit burdened to make sure I revealed all the times I missed and messed. Nestled in the bag with them were stones telling the secrets of all the things I held onto for myself, instead of offering to Him. A knapsack full of stones to build my own wall of Jericho!!
Since that first celebration, Pappa never quenched my zeal, but He lightened my load! Now, I ask Pappa how many stones He has for me and what they each mean to Him. The number has varied while the preciousness has increased rock by rock.
This year, Pappa put five stones in my pouch. I couldn’t help but think of David and his five stones. Stones found in a river. Stones cast in a river. Pondering and wondering, I sat alongside a pond called Kanaph which means “corner or wind; hemmed in, protected, held secure”. Could the stones David picked for his pouch be the very ones he had cast on a Rosh Hoshana past. Rough at the start, smooth upon the return.
I could see David, upon a riverbank, eyes brimmed with tears at the thought of anything separating he and his God. I pictured him choosing his stones, rough to the touch. My grandmother would say his rocks all had rock bottom (her term during the pet rock craze for those rocks that had jagged edges. Yes, we prayed for them to be healed) because his heart felt rough to him in those moments of the divide. A terrain hard to cross until washed with the water of the river, the flood of forgiveness and redemption.
Another day, he stood on a river bank and he saw five smooth stones. He grabbed them each in awe. Maybe he remembered them from a Rosh Hoshana casting or maybe he was simply reminded. This is who you are now, smooth, polished and aglow. A heart healed of so much. A heart ready for so much. A pouch now overflowing from the act of bowing down. A pocket full of rocks reminding him that he had already slain the giants of fear, doubt, distrust, hopelessness, proof. Goliath was still a big man, but no longer a big giant, as David walked towards him. The stones that rubbed and clanked as he walked, held the testimony of who he had become since he let go. Stones of victory, telling the story of the risk David took that built faith which revealed the trust he carried and released the hope of heaven, becoming the truth that slays giants.
Today, I will carry five stone to the river. Two have rock bottom to remind me where I’ve been. Three are smooth, polished, aglow as I remember where I am.