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The Master Builder


David Robinson

Natures scrap yard a place where the master walks searching for stones to build his church. stones that the builders rejected had been sought out from every corner of the earth. The master had searched the valleys of pain, the mountains of sorrow and brokenness even the open planes and fields of adversity felt his footprint. He had dredged lakes of offence, panned the streams of sickness and fished the oceans of hurting human kind; he never sought out the refined man made stones so popular with fast build, quick fix builders of fine sanctuaries.

Not for him stones carved by human genius, nothing fashioned by sweating rough hands, not one stone that someone could point to and say, ‘that’s mine, the work of my hands, the sweat of my brow’

The seeker sought for stone worn by years of being crushed by the weight of sorrow, he looked behind every hill for living stones, stones with stories to tell, horror stories of the abused, the addicted, the despised and the rejected. Nothing clean cut, nothing uniform in shape or size, nothing was passed by as being too small or too insignificant or too dirty, nothing that anyone would ever wish to pay for.

The master draws them all to himself, building a strange collection of colours and shapes some rounded by years of being washed in the fast moving waters of adversity, others jagged and rough having been broken by the sledgehammer of hurting stinging words. Pebbles too small to make an impact, insignificant in their natural environment and sand? I mean who needs sand and silt? The off scouring of once proud stones now reduced to being the least of the least.

Scoffers scoff, as the master stands and stares at the pile of precious rubbish he had accumulated, drawing pictures, laying foundations as deep as the furrows on his brow, creating in his heart that which he will soon fashion by nail scared hands. He moves as only a master can leaving aside the small for the large, beginning with the tough in order to enslave the weak, his hands bring to light the foundation stones first. Never hesitating he rolls them into place and stones that never kissed in daylight blushed as they touched with an intimacy born in light, they rocked gently as the assembled crowd laughed jostling for the best view of such madness.

Un-groomed fingernails tear at the dirt and sand finding small stones to stop the rocking setting them in between the larger pieces, each stone beginning to realise unity was the masters great plan for stability. The misshapen, and the disabled unify the big and the bold, stone uniting stone as one; the broad shouldered, the unshakable, the proven, the stalwart realising their absolute need of once shifting sands. All of them once stubbornly grounded in the soil and mud of the earth now willing, now useful; a new reason for being a stone, a reason for being a pickle of sharp sand...The once proud now fallen and set into place being gently reminded of their need of the small, the castaways and the forgotten.

Laughter fills the air as onlookers mock the creator at his work, the potter at his wheel, the carpenter at his bench, the mason works on in silence like a lamb before his Shearer’s, dumb, he never speaks he just smiles knowing that soon they would understand. The walls grew higher as more stone was deftly set in place, every gap in the ever growing wall welcomed the small stones once thought of as unimportant, gold and silver gathered from deep darkened caves of oppression glistened but added no real value. To the onlookers they were precious stones but to the master they were just building blocks that survived the pressures of life.

The laughter and the mocking voices melt with each row; each layer brings a surprised gasp from a crowd who are beginning to see what the master builder is creating. The professional men, the self made who had built so much by their own labours, men whose hands were calloused and rough saw the ease with which he builds his house. The mighty men gasped at the dexterity with which he worked amazed at his speed and sure way he built each stone fitly jointing them together securely in the right place.

The building rises, the rubbish heap grows smaller until there are no more stones, suddenly a little child carried a stone and racing forward gleefully places it in the hands of the master, immediately the child led others to bring more, surely a little child shall lead them, children ran to and fro and gathering stone upon stone they placed all at His feet. Soon there was a deluge as people brought in lost stones, stones that had been deeply buried deep by deceit, crippled by abuse, the cast-offs, and the worn out all fell silently at His feet. Someone even brought a piece of wood from a mountain top nearby and another sheepishly carried three rusty old nails and placed them quietly before busy hands that had once felt their sting.

Suddenly the builders became servants, no longer doubting His ability to build using materials they would have rejected, no longer desiring to compete with someone who made all their efforts and plans look foolish and time wasting.

Wise builders now brought stones instead of advise, no one dared to use man made stones, no one wanted to place their name over the door and claim it as their own. ‘More stones, more rocks, more sand and pebbles’ came the shout as people spread out and searched far and near for building materials, strange uncharted ground yielded new colours and new shapes, New ground was combed, new lands were opened up, new territories brought different hues and colours all which made the master smile. People became interested in heeding the master’s call to go into all the world, to build his house; as stones were gathered, pain, brokenness, adversity, sin, offence, abuse and hurt were removed from the land, the land and nature groaned as they had awaited this day for what seemed an eternity.

Every stone fitly jointed together, no schism, strength in unity, unshakable as large held tightly onto small, and in turn the weak onto the mighty. The less comely were admired for their courage; even the less honourable were given places of honour.

Each played a vital role; each made to feel important as they settled where they were planted happy just to be part of the Master’s work. Those stones that needed to be cared for found a warm embrace from cold stone as the Master builder tempered them together setting them in place as he wills. Each rock, each stone, each pebble, each grain of sand all played their role to perfection, all had a special part in his house. They were diverse in size, in ability, in strength, in structure and in where they were used but it was the same master builder that worked all in all, they became one even though they were many. Gone were the territorial claims, the prejudices, ‘the other crowd, the other sort’ were fashioned to become ‘us’ and we became ‘that other lot’ no difference between English stones and Irish stones after all or indeed between stones of different colours.

The passers by stopped passing by and stood instead in awe, changed by the sheer beauty of the building, they came to view, not to mock, they came to witness a unity never before seen. Now they could believe that the stones of the earth were his as they stared overcome at the union of stone to stone, now they could believe that the Master was really who he said he was.
Finger pointers, scoffers and those who had once laughed at the Master realized that they too were under construction, they too were being restored and being reborn...

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