Standing Upon the Rock



Once there was a man who climbed to a high place in the night and cleared the wild vines that had overtaken the Rock of Truth. When the vines were cleared, the man stood upon the rock, just as his fathers did in the ancient days. And from there, he began to listen without speaking.


In time, the crowds gathered at night to mock and curse him so long as he stood there, though the man said nothing to them. They did not like where he stood, and feared the man because he remembered where the stone had been hidden for so long.


“Come down here,” they said. “Who are you to stand upon this old rock? There is no such thing as truth any longer, and any man who stands in this place is filled with hatred for the rest of us. Come down and we will embrace you. You will be one of us. All that you have done will be forgiven.”


But the man replied, “I love you too much to come down.”


And the crowd went away and came back at night with fine things to eat–a table filled with the bounty of the land. “Come down here and eat until you are filled,” they called to him. “Eat the food of kings and drink like no one else among us.”


But the man replied, “Do not kings die with fat bellies, filled to their necks with expensive food and wine?”


And the crowd went away and came back at night with chests full of gold and silver, diamonds and rubies. “Come down and you will be a rich man. With this you can buy the land as far as you see and all the people in it, and they will serve your family for the generations. Your children’s children will have all they need.”


But the man asked them, “Why should I trade what cannot be stolen for what will?”


In this way, they came back night after night, offering him pleasure, positions of power, and all the things men desire. Each time the man on the rock denied their offerings. The crowd gathered together and conspired, for they had no more ideas.


“What use is standing upon a rock, anyways?” they called up to him. “Life is short and soon you will die.”


And the man replied, “Life is short and soon I will die.”


And the crowd went away and came back at night with more among their number, vicious men and howling women who said that if he did not come down they would seize everything from him–his name, his job, his family, all that he loved. “Come down, fellow, or you will live the rest of your days wishing that you were dead, for you will have nothing to your name. The merchants will not trade with you. The bankers will not hold your money. No one will desire the work of your hands, for if they do, they too will lose everything, for we will come for them next.”


And the man replied, “You can only take from me what I am willing to give away. And I am unwilling to give them to you.”


The crowd hurled stones at him, enraged that he could not be drawn down from the Rock of Truth.


In time, they went away and came back at night with weapons of war – swords and shields, bows and arrows, torches and flame. “We have given you many chances to come down and still you stand upon the old forgotten rock. Now what choice do we have but to come up and cut you into pieces. And we will send those pieces to every corner of the land so the people know what becomes of the one who resists.”


But the man was not afraid, for he stood upon the Rock of Truth. “Do what you must,” the man said to them.


The crowd charged up the mountain with their weapons drawn. At once, a burst of light came from the man’s chest–light that overwhelmed the darkness and blinded those it encountered.


Many fled. Others continued to charge up the mountain and fell to their deaths. Still more fought one another, blinded in the light.


When dawn came, the man still stood upon the Rock of Truth.