Earlier this week I saw this picture and I was FASCINATED!
Okay, yes, it is a pile of dirt and rocks, or at least that is what it looks like to most people. It is in fact a bunch of dirt and rocks, but if you’ll notice, there’s an arch to it. Most sedimentary rock is in straight lines like the picture below.
Sedimentary rock is formed from sedimentation, lots of little bits of dirt and rock settling over long periods of time and with a lot of pressure flattening it out. There’s very minimal variation in these types of rocks, so any variation is a big deal. As I said, the rocks in the first picture have variation! How did that happen?
It turns out that the little dome was formed because life was present. That rounded area is called a stromatolite. Stromatolites are layered rocks that are created by photosynthetic microorganisms like cyanobacteria. These bacteria secrete lime, a calcium compound, that traps sand and other materials to form “microbial mats”. These mats then build up over time with the bacteria living on the outside so that they can still get sunshine. When they’re being built, they look something like this.
This is a picture of stromatolites still being formed in Australia. The one in the original picture is millions of years old. That’s a long time for weather and pressure to try to flatten it out like the rest of the rock, and yet, the structure still stood.
I am in awe of what life can do. These small bacteria, something microscopic that we might not even notice otherwise, forever changed this landscape. It made a difference. I feel like that is all of our goals. We want to feel like we made a difference. The bacteria shows us that the way to make an impact is through LIFE. The gospel of John tells us that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Uniting our lives with Life itself can change the world.
Another thing the bacteria shows us is that the world around us works in one way and that life is a radically different path. The world will try to pressure us to conform, to become flat and boring, but we must hold tight to Christ. We must remain steadfast in our choice to live this path.
This week is Holy Week and tomorrow is the start of the Triduum. For the next three days we will be told over and over again the pressure that was put on Christ to break, to give in, but He didn’t. He maintained the course because He knew the ending. He knew it was more important to live differently than the world because it would change the world forever. As we go into the Triduum, I hope that you will take some time to reflect on how Christ withstood the pressure of the world, how life overpowered death. Life is the way to make a difference on this world, and Life was the victor on Easter morning.
Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter.