Walking on Water and Other Surprises
(Posted August 24, 2023)
“Geologists have a saying: rocks remember.” --- Neil Armstrong
Here’s something to get you started for this Sunday’s musing: Every time you enter First Church by our marble front steps, you are literally walking on water. Jesus performed that feat in the gospel a couple of weeks back. Even Simon Peter, that sometimes rock-headed fisherman, managed to walk on water. That is, until he suddenly realized what he was doing, and sank beneath the water like a stone.
So what do I mean that YOU are walking on “water” when you climb our marble steps?
How Water Made Our Foundation
Our steps are made of beautiful pure “Stockbridge” marble. In fact when I looked at the church yesterday, there is a band of marble that runs all around the outside of the church, and it is upon this band that the brick layers who built us our sanctuary began the building of the fifth meeting house.
So how is it that we’re walking on water? Well, as Neil Armstrong said in his statement, rocks remember.
And really, they do. The marble that forms our steps is the remnant of a great sea that became trapped between two continents when God began pulling together the elements of this planet.
Pangaea, the initial continent on our planet upon which New England was formed, came to exist 350 million years ago, and began to pull apart some 150 years ago, trapping a sea amidst the rocks. In time all the calcium from sea creatures began to settle as seawater evaporated. With eons of pressure, all the calcium of that sea crystalized, and formed the beautiful white marble in the steps of our church, allowing us to “walk on water.” When our forefathers and foremothers settled in the Danbury area, they went to a quarry in Bethel to mine lime from limestone to sweeten the dirt in the fields for planting – the lime being from that same sea. Today it’s a swimming hole.
Jesus Names the Rock
This week Jesus is looking for a solid foundation for the kingdom of God he’s forming on earth. He turned
to the one follower who walked on water with him -- Simon – to test his faith. Jesus asked his followers:
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
With this one statement, Simon became Peter, which means the Rock, upon which the infant church would lay its bricks of faith and build a faith that continues over 2,000 years to this day. On Sunday we’re going to explore some fascinating nature-based and spiritual surprises that you might never have considered before. Join us to receive your gift!