Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Falling vs. Fallen

Traveling back and forth between my home state of West Virginia and Virginia (where I now live), I have been in turn amused and bemused to note a difference in road signs warning of the same situation: Falling Rocks (West Virginia) and Fallen Rocks (Virginia).

What could have created the difference?

Do West Virginians perceive themselves as sufficiently adroit and quick-responding drivers to avoid the rocks as they fall?  Probably, and not without cause.  Have you driven those curves in those mountains?  It requires some skill as well as courage.

Do Virginians think the greater danger presented is to be found on what’s already on the road versus what might be falling down from above?  Perhaps.

Falling versus fallen – maybe it’s a theological difference (I know, I know – I stretch the point).  Maybe Virginians emphasize our fallen nature while West Virginians emphasize our grace-filled redemption (represented by some, particularly mystic, writers, as falling into God).  As a West Virginia home-girl, I’d like to think so.

Apropos of nothing at all important, I puzzle and come to no conclusions, except to note that one picture really is worth a thousand words.

But West Virginia has taken the extra step of naming a town (well, not really a town – just a zip code, really) “Falling Rock”.  Now that’s committed.

1 comment:

  1. Beth,

    I think that the difference between these signs does have implications for theology. Deuteronomy teaches us that we will be protected and blessed if we are obedient to God. I believe that if we are obedient we will be blessed at every level. We will also be protected from many things. We will be protected from the fallen rocks, which are avoidable. We cannot count on being protected from the falling rocks, which may be unavoidable. Yet, we can count on being protected even while the rocks rain down on us.

    Tomorrow I will preach the funeral of a fellow pastor who served in West Virginia, in a county next to the Virginia line. She was obedient to God. She was one of the most loving people I ever knew. Yet, in her thirties she was diagnosed with cancer. She fought the cancer for three years. She fought it with great grace. Her body was not protected from the falling rocks, but her soul was. Please pray for Kerry's children.