Throughout history and in many cultures, stones and rocks have been used as markers. Markers of significance used to identify a location for direction along a journey, as a place of remembrance or even as a place of worship. The Bible is pocketed with many such markers.
Last week Maree and I had the great privilege of visiting our daughter Andrea, her husband David and their three children Tobiah, Eliana and Spencer in Thailand. This trip was significant not just because it was our first overseas experience, but also because we were their first visitors from Australia.
I have long found that the use of stones and pebbles to also be significant in my life as a symbol of remembrance, and so I was determined to make sure that as far as possible I would collect a pebble at many points along the way.
For example: this stone was found at the place of the Mae Elephant Camp where we witnessed elephants being bathed by their trainers in the river … where we fed then bananas … where we saw them playing soccer … where we saw them painting … where Maree was cuddled by an elephant’s trunk and where we rode on the back of an elephant! What a wonderful experience to remember. It was also the place where Tobi and Eli held a snake around their necks.
The next pebble was found at the spot where we stopped to fix a rear-wheel blowout. Dave could not locate the key to the spare wheel and so he called one of the other missionaries who came to pick us all up. It was hot – and neither Dave or Andie knew the name of the road we were on or the locality. (They actually identify locations by ‘landmarks’ interestingly!) We were approached by some soldiers who seemed amused at these westerners’ plight. We used various objects as safety markers on the (fortunately not so busy) road as many Tuk-Tuks, Songthaews and motor scooters passed by — their drivers and passengers seemed also intrigued as we stood on the side of the road.
The third pebble was picked up at the site of new ZOE Children's Home construction site. After we had visited the current ZOE premises the day before and saw first hand some of the work being done for the sake of these precious children; this pebble holds great significance —symbolising not just the construction of a new building, but the expansion of a wonderful ministry ‘…to the least of these …’
These rocks / pebbles / stones — whatever term you prefer (as well as the others I collected) are also symbolic of Dave, Andie and their children. As the Apostle Peter says‘…living stones …’ (1 Peter 2:5-11) ‘being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood … as aliens and strangers … that they may see your good deeds and glorify God …’
Maree and I were blessed over and again by the beauty and colour of the land – its fruit and its flowers and the friendliness and politeness of the people. But most significant of all by the privilege of sharing this marker in time with the Cross family.