“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.” —Matthew 10:26
God will reveal things that have been covered up, make secrets known, and this is a GOOD thing. The world isn’t a cause of embarrassment to God—apparently, nothing is, not even those things we’d prefer to leave buried. Our powerful God is with us, uncovering things all around us.
Lately, I’ve gotten into gardening. We are lucky enough to live in a home on a church property, with places around the property where we can garden. Earlier this spring, I took over an overgrown flower bed. My boys and I spent the better part of a Saturday digging up the old plants, making way for new. While we dug, we kept finding rocks. The garden soil was full of rocks.
Some soil always seems to grow rocks, but our church is also built into a hill and significant runoff adds to the stony ground. Some of the rocks in the soil have been down there for years. There is a lot to be tended in our garden before we can plant the finicky tomatoes and the delicate basil and the Herculean mint. The rocks in the garden need to be pulled out. The rocks must be uncovered.
For me, these rocks have served as a helpful metaphor for our social and political moment. Some rocks were uncovered by the current climate, the rain of COVID, and the Movement for Black Lives. Some rocks were buried deep—in us and our upbringing or by the culture and its contagious fear. Here is the good news: God is with us to uncover the rocks. We are not doing this alone; we are finding the rocks together in community. “Have no fear of uncovering!” says Jesus. Yes, sometimes it is hard work to dig the rocks out of the garden, but when we get the rocks out, then we have room for the garden to grow.
What are our rocks? What uncovering work do we need to do? As a white woman leading a predominately white congregation, all kinds of things are coming up in our social justice conversations. We’ve intentionally structured time to uncover things together. I have seen faithful people working together to learn, find ways to listen and to act, and to explore partnerships. We can do the work together as a community. AND, we will also need to do some internal work, some personal work. Where are our own individual rocks? Where is our own privilege, racism, fragility? Where have we been silent too long? Until we uncover it (with God’s help), we cannot make room for the garden to grow.
My children collect the rocks I dig out of the garden and use them to create beautiful sculptures around the church. They’ve made a fairy garden or two, built towers, and used the rocks as they tell stories about their adventures. They have taken these rocks that were hard to dig out, and turned them into something else entirely. It makes me think of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Out of the rocks of apartheid, people were able to build structures of truth telling, listening, and at times, forgiveness. That can only happen when the rocks come out of the ground and into the light.
Removing the rocks from the garden is not a one time thing. Somehow, even though I’ve dug and planted, I keep finding more rocks. The rain keeps coming and rocks keep rolling into the garden. There are always more rocks to uncover, and our work on white supremacy and racism is similar. It’s not one-and-done, but a lifetime of work removing the rocks from our own lives and the communities we are a part of in our world. We have to keep working, keep going, to leave clearer growing space for our children. Some of us have labored at this for a while, out of necessity or choice, others are just starting to see the rocks, still others insist that we should leave the rocks well-enough alone.
So, what now? First, remember our God is a powerful God that will uncover and make secrets known. God knows the stones well, and knows they need to come out. Second, remember that each of us is of tremendous value to God–even the hairs of our head are counted. God’s love doesn’t stop us from doing the work we need to do. It encourages us.
So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light.”
We will, with God’s help.
What are your individual rocks?
How are you uncovering them?
What is growing in their place?