By Elizabeth Prata
The year was 1962. The couple was young, and it was their first house. They had saved up and moved from a small apartment over a funeral home in the city, to the best suburb in the state. The happy couple now owned 4 acres of rolling hills and wooded yard, a 90 foot chicken barn, and a 100 year old cozy Cape Cod home with a wide front porch, across the street from a pond. They had made it.
It was New England, which meant that the yard was full of rocks. If the wife wanted a garden, the rocks would have to be dealt with. What do you do with all these rocks? They did as all New Englanders had done since the first Puritans had stepped foot onto the rocky land: build a wall.
Being Italian, and knowing the best masons and builders were Italian (yes, the husband was proud of his heritage), they hired Sal and Guido to take the rocks dotting the soil of this lovely yard and the ones all strewn about, haul them to the front of the yard, and build a wall. Being Italian, it would not only be functional, but it would be beautiful. It would also last.
Sal and Guido, knowing that the best walls aren’t held together with cement, but gravity, set to work. Slowly. Sal and Guido did not move fast.
First they gathered the rocks from all about and laid them along the front of the yard. They made sure they could see each one. Once the rocks of all sizes and colors were carefully laid from one end of the yard to the other, they examined each rock, turning it over to check its size and its properties, then laid it back down. Then they did the same with all the other rocks.
This process took a while. The husband was becoming impatient. He could not see any progress. Just a bunch of rocks littering his front yard. He did not see any point to all this examination and care. The old Italian masons told the impetuous young man that anything built to last must be done slowly and carefully. Wait, they said.
There came a day that the old men started piling rock upon rock. They knew each rock well by then, and knew exactly where to place each one. They all seemed to fit! Gravity held the wall together. The careful eye from each of the old masons, knowing where to place each rock for maximum strength and performance had done its job.
At last, the wall was done. It was strong, and it was beautiful.
The wall is real, and the couple were my parents. I grew up here. This is part of the wall, there is more to the left unseen in the photo. There used to be more to the right, but it was done away with to cut a driveway. Fifty-five years later, the old builders’ work is still standing strong.
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
The Great Builder is building His eternal church from living stones – us. He is taking care to examine each one, turn it over to see all the different properties and facets. He knows just where to place each of us for maximum effect and use. It takes time, but anything well-built takes time.
We are being gathered, shaped, honed for maximum use. One day, the spiritual wall will be complete, the last stone will be laid (Romans 11:25). His spiritual house will stand forever.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 13-18)