Saturday, 22 January 2011

Then the Fire Came: an Image

Houses stand side by side: each one different, each built by a different hand, the hand of their owner. Some are tall towering eloquent edifices of architecture whist others are mere hovels. Some are made of humble material; of brick, of wood, of thatch and stone. Whilst others are structures of opulence; made from glass, precious metals, from gems and marble. They do not stand apart from each other but rather sit cheek by jowl as if each one were placed at random with no thought for the overall aesthetics of the neighbourhood.

The houses only had one thing in common, and that was the rock that they were built on. A hard bedrock, strong and solid but with many holes in. In fact each house was situated over such a hole, a cellar if you wish, or a place to hide if disaster struck. When disaster did stick it was in the form of a fire. A sea of flames spread across the city, jumping from one house to the next and fully engulfing each and every one. Not a single dwelling was sparred the judgement of the flames, from the smallest to the biggest the flames attacked each one with vigour and gusto.

Eventually the flames died down and were extinguished, and the people started to emerge from the bedrock in which they had hidden. Some came out to find that their house had only been singed whilst others emerged to still smoking debris, their entire house burnt to the ground. There was no pattern to which houses were still standing and which weren’t. In one place a hovel remained and all around the once tall towers had been raised to the ground. Whilst in other places this image was reversed.

In all of this there was only one saving grace: Each and every citizen of this metropolis had survived, each had been spared the force of the fire by the bedrock they sheltered in, a shelter that no hand had made.

1 Cor 3:11-15
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”