Go ahead and build on the sandy land . . . sort of.

IMG_0462_optJesus said a smart thing:

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Like every analogy, however, the point is limited. You should not build something you wish to endure, like a house, on the sandy land. That is foolish. However, you should go ahead and build some sand castles. 

The difference between a sand castle and a house is that the point of a sand castle is impermanence. Like a giant etch-a-sketch, the sea comes and wipes out the old and gives you a clean bit of sand to do something new. This is brilliant fun, but also a valuable spiritual lesson.

Sometimes we build shrines where God appeared, but God has gone on to a new thing or place. The children of Israel were saved by a bronze serpent that God told them to make, but later they began to worship that same icon of God’s power as a god. It had to be destroyed as a result. They made something permanent out of something temporary. Icons are made for veneration, but idols for destruction.

The temporary was beautiful until someone got ideas and tried to make it forever.

We need eternal things, but we are also temporal creatures. Some of what we do, even some of what God does for us is for a time, and then passes. Miss Havisham should have eaten the wedding cake and not tried to preserve it as a shrine to her disappointments.

Writing here is a bit like this and unlike what I have written for books. I write what I think needs to be said today. Most of it, if fun or worth reading today, will not be good tomorrow.

Here is a way of saying this:

Everyone then who reads these words of mine and doesn’t make too much of them will be like a wise man who built his sand castles in the sand. And the waves rose, and the tide came in, and the winds blew and beat on that sand castle, and it was washed clean away, because it had done the good it was designed to do.  And everyone who reads these words of mine and memorizes them or makes too much of them will be like a foolish man who built his sandcastle out of cinder blocks. And waves rose, and the tide came in, and the winds blew and beat against those cinder blocks, and they stayed, over time becoming a blot on the coast.”


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