From The Kitchen Window - Walls
Words by David Hollows
From the kitchen window – Walls
If you are looking for a new hobby or interest and love the outdoors, then Cornwall could be the place for you.
For the past few years there has been a revival in dry-stone walling as miles and miles of country walls are being repaired and apprenticeships are available for young people who might be interested in this niche job opportunity which pays really well.
We often do not pay too much attention to walls, unless, of course, your garden wall needs some attention. But walls are a major feature in human history. For example: ‘The Great Wall of China was erected in the third century BC as a defence against raids by nomadic peoples from the north. Throughout succeeding centuries the Great Wall was repaired and extended in length to finally stretch for 4,500 miles.’ No wonder it can be seen from outer space!
The Pyramids are often the most memorable walls owing to their awesome appearance and we all remember the night in November 1989 when the Berlin Wall was brought down.
Across the Sahel region of North Africa, a new type of wall is being erected, this time, a Great Green Wall, as countries plant millions of trees as a natural barrier to restrict the invasion of the Sahara sands to arable areas. Hopefully, this will be amazing from outer space as well.
There are other famous walls: the wall that the former President Trump wanted built across the Mexican border, the walls of the 2 dams which were demolished by the huge amount of water which burst into the walls following the collapse of the glacier in northern India in February and a similar situation almost occurred in Yorkshire last year during the January floods as a dam wall was almost breached by flood water which was drained away in time.
For most of us in the valley, our encounters with walls may be when we decorate a room, repair a garden wall or visit a famous building such as a castle or abbey or Hadrian’s Wall – might this wall become useful again in the future if Scotland achieves independence?
The walls of the valley, either homes or mills or for fields were hewn from the local quarries and some of you may remember family members who worked in such difficult and dangerous conditions, especially in the winter.
However, there are other types of walls other than physical ones made of brick or stone.
Some of us create walls behind which we hide a variety of emotions or the reality of our lives. Young people are very good at building a wall which hides their emotional and physical struggles.
Certain cultures impose strict dress codes to hide individuals and sometimes we wear certain types of clothes as walls to represent our status or personality. Some use their career or profession as a wall behind which they are able to disguise their self esteem. Names are used as walls, for example, in the past many female authors have used a false name behind which to conceal their real name and identity in order to have their works published.
Photo by Donnie Rosie via Unsplash
Please read the following:
Open Doors stared in 1955 when Brother Andrew began smuggling Bibles into the countries of the former Soviet bloc. At the time it seemed as though nothing would or could change. But in time, the Berlin Wall fell, and the Communist world collapsed. It seemed as though these nations were untouchable but God is stronger than walls and bigger than history.
Walls feature in the Bible as well.
When Joshua sent two spies into Jericho, Rahab used a scarlet cord from the window of her home which allowed the spies to escape by climbing down the walls of the city. Later, Rahab would use the same scarlet cord as a sign that the members of her family were to be spared in the battle for the city. (Joshua chapter 2) If you visit Jericho today, you can visit the ruins of the same wall which, we are told, were so wide that chariot races were held upon them. The walls may have been wide but not strong enough for Joshua and the Hebrews to bring the walls down simply by marching around them and praising God (Joshua chapter 6).
The walls which supported the magnificent Tower of Babel must have been a massive engineering feat which did not impress God (Genesis chapter 11).
Yet, another engineering achievement was the rebuilding of the Temple walls in Jerusalem by Nehemiah and the teams of Israelites who had returned from exile. Ezra describes the walls which were rebuilt (Ezra chapter 6) and the book of Nehemiah records for us the sheer amount of effort taken to rebuild the city walls as well as face a variety of opposition. If you have visited Jerusalem, you may recall the majesty of the Wailing Wall and the size of the stone blocks.
However, these walls of the city and the temple are nothing in comparison to the walls which John sees in his vision of the new city which God will build here on earth in the end times (Revelation chapter 21) These walls will be magnificent and are in contract the city walls outside of which Jesus was crucified (Mark chapter 15).
Jesus also encountered other types of walls, not just stone ones. He dealt with walls of prejudice against lepers, of victimization involving the woman caught in adultery, the religiosity of the Jewish leaders and the abuse He received when He ate with sinners or had compassion on those deemed the lowest of the low; the women and the children. Jesus told the story of 2 builders whose walls stood or fell as an example of how we should build our lives (Matthew chapter 7).
We are surrounded by walls, even if they are only the walls of our own abode. How we deal with these walls and the walls of our life choices is dependent often upon the walls which we build between ourselves and God who broke into human history to tear down walls so that we can have relationship with Him.
So, how are your walls? Strong and impenetrable or broken down and in need of restoration by a master builder. Try God.
You may find the following prayer helpful:
Gracious God, we often invite you to share our lives but the walls of our daily living and our choices prevent your presence in our lives. We ask that you would remove the walls of our personality which are not acceptable to you, break down the walls which are in direct opposition to the way you want us to live our lives then rebuild us with walls of love, compassion, grace and mercy. Take our hatreds and turn them into handshakes. Take our prejudices and turn them into peace-offerings. Take our arguments and turn them into alliances. Take our battles and turn them into bonds of love. Take our lives and use us for your purposes.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.
God bless you