Pause for Thought – a five minute read – Week 30

Genesis 11 v 1-9: Luke 14 v 2 – 30:                Joshua 2 v 14 – 15

Another Brick in the Wall

My next door neighbour is having extensive building work carried out to his house. Part of the work involves a two storey extension that abuts my drive; consequently, I have had a perfect view of all aspects of the work as it has progressed.

Having a heritage of building construction, including being a bricklayer myself in a past life, I find all aspects of construction fascinating so I have thoroughly enjoyed the past few weeks monitoring the progress of the work from foundations to roof.

There are so many theological and scriptural parallels interwoven in constructional practices.

If individual bricks are stacked one on top of another it is not long before the stack becomes unstable and falls over. However, if the bricks are interlocked, as in a dry stone wall, the structure is many times stronger. Include a mortar bed and joint and the wall is almost indestructible. If we try to work on our own we are limited in our achievements, if we work together in harmony with others we can achieve great things, if we enfold ourselves in the Holy Spirit and work together we can achieve anything.

As my neighbour’s wall began to rise, it reached a point where the builder’s legs were far too short, a problem that I experience often, and a scaffold was required to enable the work to continue. In an attempt to make the builder’s life a little easier I gave my permission for the scaffold to be erected on my drive, so one day, very early in the morning, a team of scaffolding erectors arrived and erected their steel poles in a vertical, horizontal and diagonal formation that created a work of art compatible to any Renaissance sculpture or artistic work, towering high into the atmosphere, well, up to the uppermost point of the gable end.

Genesis 11 v 1 – 9, describes how the descendants of Noah built a City that had a tower so high that it reached into the heavens. It was made from bricks and tar and was an incredible achievement. I wonder what their scaffolding looked like. When God saw what they had achieved he thought they were too clever, so he mixed the languages that they spoke to make it more difficult, and scattered the nations across the world. That’s why builders speak a different language to anyone else.

As my neighbour’s scaffold and walls grew, so the work became more complicated, involving lintels over door and window openings, thermal insulation in the cavity walls floor joists and roof construction and much more. I began to realise that the financial costs of the work were increasing by the day and it made me think of Luke 14 v 24 – 30. Jesus was describing the cost of being a disciple and pointing out that no one should embark on a life with Christ without total commitment. No one should start to build a tower without first working out the cost or he may not be able to complete the work.

I hope my neighbour has worked out the cost. I’m sure he has.

The problem with a high scaffold is that it is a long way to climb to the top and difficult to carry materials such as bricks and mortar to enable the work to continue.

To overcome this problem the builder has installed an electrically powered hoist that can lift and lower materials in a plastic tub. Unfortunately he still has to climb the ladder but the heavy materials can be lifted by the hoist.

It reminded me of Joshua 2 v 14 – 15. Joshua sent two spies into the City of Jericho to collect inside information. While they were there they had to hide from the king’s soldiers in a house owned by a woman called Rahab who enabled the spies to escape by lowering them down to the ground from a bedroom window in a basket attached to a rope. I can’t help thinking it would have been a lot more difficult lowering two men in a basket at the end of a rope than it is for my builder using an electrically powered hoist.

In return for her help and assistance, Rahab was saved by God when the City of Jericho fell. She tied a red chord to the very window that the spies escaped from and she, and her family, was saved from destruction.

I asked my neighbour if the scaffolding would still be on my drive over the Christmas period and if so we could festoon festive lights on it and have a nativity scene underneath to compete with other illuminated gardens along our road.

Sadly he informed me that if all goes to plan the scaffold structure would be removed before Christmas.  

Ah well, I will have to find some other source of excitement during the COVID restrictions.

All this goes to prove that no matter what we see around us every day of our lives, we can relate to the Bible and that God is with us in everything that we see.

Derek T.