Welcome to The Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Stop and See: Week 2 | Day 4

Do you sometimes forget how God has been faithful in your life? Br. Luke Ditewig shares his daily practice of stopping at the end of the day to see where God has been present, so that he can claim and share his good news.

Question: What stones do you carry? What do they mean?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Listening Hand


Transcript: When Joshua led the people of Israel into the Promised Land they came to the Jordan River, and when the priests with the arc of the covenant stepped into the Jordan River, the river stopped, such that the people could walk through.  Then Joshua told 12 men to go back into the center of the river to pick up 12 stones.  They brought them out and on the shore they made a monument.  Joshua told the people, “When your children ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ remember and tell them what happened here today, how God was faithful and provided for you.”

I think that’s important both for the children to hear the story but also for the parents to remember and to tell it.  You know, often, I don’t remember.  I forget what has happened.  And so I need to stop and to see how God is faithful and doing things for me.

So often, at the end of each day, even for the little and small things of the ordinary life, I stop, and I ask myself, “For what am I most thankful?  When was I most fully alive?  How have I received love?”  And the answers to those questions are memories.  They are real instances where God has been present, where God has shown up for me, and that’s my good news to claim.  It’s also then how I can share it with others.  And it might be both me telling the story to someone else, to tell them what I am thankful for, what God has done for me.

I think we, too, as adults need to ask questions, and so our proclamation is also to ask one another, “For what are you most thankful?  How has God shown up for you?  When were you most fully alive?”  And sometimes we mark those things.  We may write them down, we may paint a picture, or take a picture, or pick up a stone where we are, and carry it with us to remember God showed up for me.

So what is the story that you are going to tell, and what are the stones?  What do they mean for you?  What’s your story?  Tell me about what this stone means.  Here’s a question for today: How has God been present in your life?

– Br. Luke Ditewig

Question: What stones do you carry?  What do they mean?

Week 2 Activity: Listening Hand
Who has been a channel of God’s grace for you? In conversation or over email this week, reach out to five people to find out how they came to know God’s love. How does the Good News shape the way they live? Reflect on how you are inspired by their witness and examples.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

21 Comments

  1. Ann on March 11, 2017 at 13:05

    Recently I have begun painting stones and giving them as gifts to friends as reminders of the gift that person is to me & to others.

  2. David Cranmer on March 9, 2017 at 17:13

    Last March I was on a trip to Israel. One of the activities of the trip was an evening cruise on the Sea of Galilee. We had been asked to pick up a stone before then and to identify some burden we wanted to be rid of; then during the cruise we prayed and dropped the stone into the water. I chose to be rid of an addictive behavior. And during this past year I have been free of that behavior and have had almost no strong desires to resume it.

  3. Dottie on March 9, 2017 at 09:43

    I collect stones from all the places I’ve been to remind myself of the gifts of the memories of places shared with family and friends, but the stones I carry in my heart are the times I called out to God in need and he answered. My daughter,,Donna age 12 then, and I were in a car wreck. I lost control of the VW bug and we were headed for a large pine tree. I remember screaming ” my God not Donna” at which point the car rolled 5 times and we never hit the tree. Donna had a bump on her hand. I know God was there and saved us both and I always remember and am grateful for that and the other times in my life when I called and He answered.

  4. Kristi Leighton on March 9, 2017 at 08:21

    I think as I get older I get better at expressing thankfulness for what I have and what God has given me. It sounds so corny but this morning I saw a phenomenal sunrise outside my front door and that means something to me. I notice little things more readily and want to share them with others. Not necessarily in the “God” context but more as look what’s around us! Its’ so easy to be negatively affected by so many events going on around the world and yet there are just as many wonderful positive things all around us that we miss or fail to notice. I try hard to carry memories of little things and share them, or just treasure them for myself. I know that God is always giving us incredible things to witness, we just have to get better at seeing them!

  5. Ellen Cook on March 9, 2017 at 05:36

    I don’t collect stones, but I do collect shells found on our seaside vacations. Each one was chosen as a sign of grace – some are simple and white, others are more elaborate but harder to find. Still others are imperfect in form but beautiful in their own way: textured, some edges smoothed by the water and the earth, others a stunning but quiet reminder how adversity refines us. Each shell was picked up with joy, in a time of silence – moments that have smoothed my own edges…

  6. Stan on March 8, 2017 at 22:39

    God has certainly always been there for me … God has never let me down. My greatest “charm” is my wife. We met in a seemingly random way (though I consider our meeting to God’s greatest gift of love to me), while taking a hike in the woods some 17 years ago … when we were both really in need of a good friend. And it’s been heaven ever since … we are both just filled with God’s Spirit, and we both try to share it with others.

    But we were both raised in Ohio, so we don’t collect stones … We collect buckeyes.

  7. Verlinda on March 8, 2017 at 21:29

    My stones stand for the people in my life–past and present, and they’re arranged in a circle because the stories go on and on; each person who’s a part of my life story influences me in ways that ripple out continuously. I have stories and images that I share to keep the people of the past alive in my heart. At times, when I come to a break in the day, I stop and reflect on all of them and how they are always with me.

  8. Richard payne on March 8, 2017 at 20:31

    Walking our dog this morning-I found 2 beautifully shaped pine cones-just right for table Christmas trees. It reminded me of the glories of God’s creation that my wife,Joan and I, have been blessed with, over many years on camping ventures, which, by God’s grace, we are still doing right now at the age of 84. Wow!

  9. gwedhen nicholas on March 8, 2017 at 19:25

    I am very literal, and so I take ‘What stones do you carry’ I take that as being actual stones, not symbolism. I do have a little drawstring bag, in which I put small, special stones. This could be seen as symbolic. They are left in a bag in a drawer, and I rarely look at them, let alone carry them with me. I think I am like that with life experiences. I ponder them in my heart like Mary, but I don’t take them out and share them with people. I don’t share what I am thankful for, the good news that I carry in my heart. I should practice taking the stones out of the bag and attaching a thanksgiving to them, and then share my good news with those around me.

  10. Carole Bergman on March 8, 2017 at 17:47

    God has been present in my life mainly in my sweet husband of 61 years today!
    He has taught me how to love, for one thing and has forgiven me countless times down through the years. He has made me laugh every day, sometimes several times a day, keeping me from taking myself too seriously. We two are so blessed in our marriage and we want God to have the glory.

  11. John McCann on March 8, 2017 at 09:52

    I end each day with the Ignation practice of the “Examen”, and think through the day, for those small gifts of Gods grace. It helps me to be more alive and present in the moment, daily, as I recognize these moments, which happen all around me. I have trouble waking up without thinking of all the worries of life, past regrets, current and future fears, so to help counteract, I first before prayer, make a list a “Gratitude List” of early morning of thanking God for my blessings of health. Prayers of gratitude really have an instant reward built in, they make you feel good. In Intercessory prayer, I ask God for help for those in distress, and try to not foucs on my own needs so much. This series has helped me live Lent more intentionally. John McCann

  12. Belinda Keller on March 8, 2017 at 08:17

    A few years ago during a sad time in my life, I looked down as I walked along a path and noticed a little stone.
    Picked it up and it was heart-shaped– not perfect but close. I found myself thinking of how it reminded me of life and God’s love. Life’s not perfect, it’s hard at times, but God’s love is always right in front of us– rock solid. I saw God’s love in that little stone. It made me smile. I’ve kept it as a reminder, and I now collect heart-shaped stones. I give them away hoping to pass along the smile and love God shared with me. He’s forever present in all things, even a tiny stone.

  13. Suzanne Haraburd on March 8, 2017 at 08:03

    God preserved my life out of a childhood of abuse, and rescued my soul from co-dependency. In the midst of a very frightening time I visited the Portiuncula, the small chapel that St. Francis rebuilt, stone by stone. I kneeled next to the wall for a long time, resting my cheek against the cool stone, and felt soothed by all the prayers that seemed to radiate from the stones into my body.

  14. Bryan Cook on March 8, 2017 at 07:46

    It is only those most close to me, especially my partner, who I ask “For what are you most thankful? How has God shown up for you? When were you most fully alive?” Otherwise it seems so much of an intrusion of privacy.
    Thanks to this Lenten Series, I have been more diligent in my prayers to give thanks for moments when I was most fully alive with God, rather than just asking for His intercession. These thanks are my pebbles….. yesterday I rocked a newborn baby for a few hours…. God had given me this opportunity knowing I will have no grandchildren of my own….I cried gently and prayed that she might have a fulfilling and serene life.

    I don’t like the word stone….. I remember the sickness and hurting others when I was stoned; there are places where they still stone a person to death for not conforming to conventional belief or making a sad mistake. I’ve cast stones which have hurt folks.

    I do keep a small pebble glued to my cellphone, another in front of my computer and another on a neck chain….their fullerine structure protects me from direct radiation. Maybe, by this analogy, this is what talismen of all forms do…..protect and comfort through good memories.

  15. Rhode on March 8, 2017 at 07:11

    yesterday i had lunch with a new friend whom i met as she served me over the counter, at her small deli. over the past 2 yrs she has delighted me with little insights that one day paused me to quietly ask if she was a follower of Jesus. Her eyebrows raised and she said I am…and I was thinking to ask the same of you! Well, that added a whole new dimension to our little talks that lead to this lunch invitation. over lunch we were like children eager to hear how god first revealed himself to us, how jesus changed our hearts. 2 hrs flew by as we recounted laughs and tears, paths from darkness to light, so similar and so different. then came this timely morning lesson, making me smile and give thanks for the stones upon stones – our shared milestone markers of the presence of the grace of god then and now.

  16. Colette on March 8, 2017 at 06:35

    I have a small flat stone I found at my dad’s grave shortly after he died, when I was visiting one day in the rain. I keep the stone on my desk. It reminds of the stones we used to try to “skip” on the lake where dad’s family had a summer cottage.

  17. Kathy on March 8, 2017 at 05:15

    I would have 2 stones that represent each of my children, 1 large stone for my church family, 1 for biological family, 1 for employment, 1 for shelter, 1 for health, 1 for volunteer opportunities, 1 for freedom to practice religion openly, and 1 boulder for the gift of everlasting life through Jesus.

    • Ruth West on March 10, 2017 at 00:00

      Kathy, I love your post. My own story pretty well matches yours, except for employment. I have been retired for many years, a good time in my life, so I would have a stone for that, too. Thanks.

  18. Fr John E Harris-White on March 8, 2017 at 03:41

    Stones have a feeling to hold and stroke, that take us back to the time we bent down, held them in our hands, and put them in our pocket, next to our warm body.
    I have such a stone, now in a dish by my icons. It tells me of the time I stood in the ruins of an ancient church in Tunisia, at the Altar, and listened to God. My Christian ancestors joined me in prayer.

    • Christina on March 8, 2017 at 09:15

      Thank you, John. I spent a week on Iona (not far from where you live) and on our final day, our leader suggested that we go to the sea shore and pick up two stones – one to be thrown into the water (all the things we would want to leave behind us in life) and the second one to take home as a reminder of God’s presence on Iona and in the Creator’s world. My week there remains with me and I can recall in my mind’s eye so many impressions that were gifted to me in that time. Blessings. Christina

      • Fr John Harris-White on March 8, 2017 at 09:59

        Christina,,

        Iona such a wonderful place. Those stone so smooth, so full of life and meaning.
        Thank you for your comment.
        God Bless,
        Fr John

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