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You, Me, and Other Gemstones

Exodus 39:9b-13
They made the breastpiece doubled, a span its length and a span its breath when doubled. And they set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle was the first row; and the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were enclosed in settings of gold filigree.

The church is a coat of many colors: a breastpiece of light-refracting gems that bathe the Father’s heart in a kaleidoscope of hues.

To even try to describe the effect that these gems produce under the light would be like trying to describe the Northern Lights from a Norwegian mountain and a summer sunset over the Grand Canyon and a circle of rainbows over Niagara Falls and a Caribbean view of a blue whale migration and the first snowfall over an Alaskan lake all at the same time! Even if our finite minds could somehow fathom such an array of incandescent beauty, we wouldn’t have words sufficient to describe it. Robert Frost can eulogize the Vermont flowers all he likes but his poetry fails to capture the elegance of a single pedal. Thoreau can speak ad nauseum of the wild wonder of a Massachusetts’s pond, but his prose is infantile gibberish compared to the wonder of the wild. Emerson can weave a tapestry of words to describe the enigma of natural phenomenon, but he’s only grasped the outer threads of nature’s resplendence. So I’d be an utter fool to think I could do any better with poorer words and weaker prose!

But one thing does need exegeting here, even if the attempt proves feeble from the start, and it’s the precious filament that binds us all together. What is this adjoining tissue? What keeps us in place, keeps us from falling, keeps us in equal proportion with our brothers, keeps us secure eternally? What else but the pure gold of God’s love! Never rusting, never decaying, never hardening or softening, a filament of heavenly fortitude that moth and rust cannot destroy and where even the devilish thief himself cannot break in and steal!

This is Heaven’s prism of precious gems—of precious people—and the most ineffable wonder of it all? That we’re on it!