“shouting: “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”” Luke 19:38-40
Before me stands a pile of tailings from a long time ago where a dredge ran through the Platt River in Colorado. I am surrounded by river rocks and brush much like I have seen at the Mississippi when I visited my husbands hometown in Iowa. As soon as I walked upon the tailings pile, I heard that still small voice “the stones will cry out.”
I know that this is a reference to Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The Pharisees were indignant that Jesus was letting them cry out “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus told them, if the people were quiet, the rocks would surely cry out.
Sitting in nature, it is peaceful, but it is also loud. The river rushes and roars. The birds squawk and chirp. The trees and shrubs sway and whisper in the wind. The animals scurry across the loose gravel. I can only imagine if the rocks started to cry out.
I think about how our country has changed even in my lifespan. I can’t help but think the rocks are wanting to cry out in our silence. Things that we have taken for granted in our silence are now plagues in our society. Voices are crying out, but they are not crying out to God. What will it take for us to wake up and see what our silence has allowed?
Human Trafficking – a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Force, fraud, or coercion need not be present if the individual engaging in commercial sex is under 18 years of age. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2019, there were 11,500 cases of human trafficking reported. A case can involve one or more potential victims of trafficking and can be reported to the hotline through one or more conversations via call, text, email, online report, or webchat.
Child abuse and neglect – According to the Children’s Bureau at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the 3,534,000 million (rounded) children who were the subject of an investigation or alternative response in fiscal year 2018, 678,000 (rounded) children were determined to be victims of maltreatment.
Murder – The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification: deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are classified as aggravated assaults. In 2019, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 16,425.
Domestic violence – the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the United States, more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually.
Divorce according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were 746,971 divorces (45 reporting States and D.C.) in 2019.
Abortion – According to the Center for a disease Control and Prevention in 2018, 619,591 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas.
Addiction – According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2018, an estimated 164.8 million people aged 12 or older in the United States (60.2 percent) were past month substance users (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs). In 2018, approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year, including 14.8 million people who had an alcohol use disorder and 8.1 million people who had an illicit drug use disorder.
Hate Crimes are a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Experts estimate an average of 250,000 hate crimes were committed each year between 2004 and 2015 in the United States. The majority of these were not reported to law enforcement.
Homelessness – Acording to the Point In Time report presented to Congress in January 2021, on a single night in 2020, roughly 580,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. Six in ten (61%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters or transitional housing programs—and nearly four in ten (39%) were in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation.
Food Insecurity At times during the year, these households were uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. In 2019, in the United States according to the USDA report 35.2 million people lived in food-insecure households.
These are just a few of the things that plague our society. Things that break the Lord’s heart. Things where the voice of the Church was silent too long. It is not to late for us to stand in unity, to cry out for the innocent, the take a stand in the name of the Lord. Will we take our voices and cry out for the lost or will we continue to let the stones cry out?