Almost a year ago we put in a pool.
This project was the final decision wrought out of no less than a 12 year tussle with my husband over what to do with the back yard. My Midwestern sensibilities said a garage would be more prudent and add to our property value. I had several pools at various houses growing up in Wisconsin, (where you could swim for all of 3 weeks in July) and so I didn’t have good associations with pool ownership. My father concurred. Pools were lots of work, and added virtually nothing to your house value. They could in fact be a liability. Chad’s decision was based on the fact that well… he wanted a pool. About 2 years ago he finally conscripted the neighbors to join the pool-garage debate and formed a sort of pool conspiracy. Thus, we have a pool.
I will say, it’s a gorgeous, in-ground, saltwater pool. We did not skimp on the design or materials. Our architect guided us to a classic roman shape and planned landscaping to compliment it. One side of the deck area is enclosed by a 6 foot high, 30+ foot long, stacked granite wall. If the pool were not there to give it context, you would think we had built some sort of temple in our back yard.
When we chose the stone for the “great wall”, we decided we liked the look of random stacked, multi-colored rocks. Like the pool decking, I assumed those rocks would have been pre-cut and ready to stack. I had no idea the craftsmanship that actually goes into building a castle wall.
It took a crew of 4 men about two weeks to hand chip and shape each rock individually, before fitting the wall together. Every morning at about 8a, the loud and incessant tink- tink -tinking of rock hammers would start. Two weeks later, we had part of the coliseum in our back yard.
This past week the daily lectionary has been taking us through 1 Kings. King Solomon is annointed King, takes his throne, and begins to build the temple. God had “given him rest on every side” and now it was time for the days of wisdom and building a house for “The NAME of the Lord.” This morning as I sat out on my back porch, looking out on the peaceful pool deck, I was struck by this verse:
“In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel, or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” (I Kings 6:7)
What’s amazing to me about scripture is that seemingly insignificant details like this are written down for us. Why do we need to know that at the construction site of the great temple, there were no sounds of hammering? That the rocks were already fit and fashioned before they were even brought to the site of the temple??
Two scriptures immediately came to mind:
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21: 2-4)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2: 19-22)
When I think of the time that I will be fit into that Holy City, the works-righteousness part of me wonders if I will really belong? Or will there first need to be a painful judgement or some sort of final blow, before I can be fit in and partake in the presence of the Lord?
But the Word this morning is clear. The stones that laid the foundation for Solomon’s temple had been fitted BEFORE they got to the temple site. The stones were already perfect.
In the New City, there is “no more death…or pain”. That process has already taken place, IS already taking place NOW in the quarry of the life we have here.
Christ had to suffer as He did, because he was to be the “chief cornerstone.” He is the Rock that holds the whole building together. His life too, had to be fashioned and fit first, before the temple could be assembled.
Should I then complain when my life is being hacked at and chiselled?
There are no sounds of work at the temple site! Thanks be to God!