Maybe it was the shaky WiFi connection, but I’m not sure I ever convinced our grandkids (during a recent FaceTime chat} that Gramps was “planting a volcano” in the backyard.
And perhaps – to enhance my credibility for future conversations with the little ones – I could have chosen a less elaborate way to describe the project we have underway: spreading a layer of lava rock as ground cover across our landscaping bed out back.
Guess what? It’s a bigger project than at first I imagined. Turns out, a 1 cu. ft. bag of the material doesn’t cover nearly as much ground as I thought it would. We’ve already made two “return trips” to hardware store to restock.
Lava rock is heavy, too. And very rough around the edges. So various of my body parts have been barking and whining about the recent abuse inflicted on them…as I inch my way along in the beautification project. But the finish line is now in sight, and overall, I’m pleased with the results. It’s mostly been worth the effort – assuming the lava remains in the garden for more than a season or two.
Getting up-close-and-personal with all this rock also provided a spiritual benefit this week when I encountered the second reading at Mass on Sunday. Saint Peter uses the odd metaphor of “living stones” to describe what’s going on in and through Christ:
…like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house.
But like pieces of pumice, we’re a little rough around the edges for such a transformation to happen, aren’t we? Too heavy with sin, as well. Nothing like a “spiritual house” emerges when we’re left to our own devices. All by itself, the lava rock never amounts to much.
Make Christ part of the process, however, and we find that we need not continue to stumble and fall. With Christ as the cornerstone…and the capstone… entirely new possibilities emerge – even bigger and brighter than a backyard volcano.
Saint Peter assures us this is precisely what God has in mind. In and through Jesus, he says, God desires to make something new of us:
“a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
And so we pray in gratitude for this new thing taking place in us: Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Amen, Alleluia!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.