This past week Sean & Rebecca Gladding began leading us through the 12 week study they are preparing to publish entitled the "Story of God." This story covers the whole scope of the Biblical narrative in 12 weeks. Thus far it has led to some stimulating discussion and I really enjoyed the Wednesday night gathering where we used art to interact with the creation narratives in Genesis. I never go very long without thinking about these narratives; and I must confess the frustration that I feel about so much of the discussion about them being co-opted by endless (and I think unfruitful) debates about evolution vs. creationism/intelligent design etc. Anyhow, it is good to be meditating upon these narratives together and considering their broader impact and the claims that they make upon our lives and our faith. This morning as I was reading the John O'Donohue thought that Geoff posted below, and reflecting on his observations about the "silent witness" of the stone, it carried me back to our present meditation on the creation narratives and Genesis. I really felt challenged by the way in which O'Donohue points out how we are (in many respects) upstaged in our faithfullness and witness to God by something as dull and seemingly lifeless as a stone! The stone is just there, being what it was created to be, and thereby testifying to the glory of God. The stone has no need to doubt its worth and no confusion about its purpose.
So, as I was chewing on O'Donohue's thought, my mind was taken back to the story of the Tower of Babel. Many things can be said about this story; but the one that has most often captured me, and did again this morning, is the statement that they gathered together at Babel to "make a name for themselves" or, in another translation, to build a "monument to our greatness." Wow! What a profound statement about the human condition, and the human need to become "something," coming as it does at the end of Genesis 1-11 and right before God calls Abram and initiates the "rebuilding" project. It is the perfect way to end Genesis 1-11. What does it all mean? Here is my thought: We can bet that if the stones that they were using at Babel to build their tower could have cried out to the people, and told of their folly, they would have.........but indeed, as O'Donohue reminds us, they were doing precisely that!