Are you a stone thrower or a stone catcher? You may not have heard of a stone catcher before but I think we are all familiar with the concept of a stone thrower. These are the people that Christ was talking to when the crowd planned to stone the adulteress woman. “Let he who is without sin among you throw the first stone.”
I learned about stone catchers this week reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is a lawyer who started the Equal Justice Initiative. The group started out defending those on Alabama’s death row who didn’t have legal counsel. Soon they worked nationwide, trying to stop the killing of men, women and children simply because they are poor and uneducated. Or mentally ill. Or handicapped. Wrongfully convicted or unjustly sentenced.
Society and the justice system pitched stones at these people, burying them beyond hope or light.
Stevenson is a stone catcher. He didn’t coin the term himself. He learned it from an older woman he had seen in the court room. He thought she was related to one of the defendants. When they spoke, she told him that, no, her grandson was one of the murder victims. Seeing his killers sent to prison “forever,” didn’t give her a sense of vindication. It only made her sadder.
Finally she realized that she was to spend her days at the courthouse. She was there to listen to those no one else could hear – the mothers, grandmothers and daughters. She was there to hold them up when they could no longer stand. She was there to catch the stones thrown at them and those they loved.
A stone catcher. Someone who catches the stones thrown by the merciless. Someone who catches the stones thrown by the unjust. Someone who catches the stones thrown by those in power simply because they can.
What an amazingly powerful image.
Christ was a stone catcher. He listened to the widow. He sat among the fallen. He saw and he heard and he healed.
Catch or throw. Throw or catch. Which would Christ have you and I do today?