Reading (Matthew 7:24-29)
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 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. 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. 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.”
As I sit at my desk looking out of the window, my view is not quite as it usually is. It’s not that the buildings, cars, trees or The Green look particularly different, it’s more the fact that I can’t see the sky. My view is obscured by scaffolding poles and scaffolding boards. On top of the boards I can see the tiles which until a few hours ago were on top of our roof, but have now been piled up in neat stacks waiting to be placed back on the roof once the roof itself has been mended. You may be wondering what is actually wrong with our roof. The answer is quite simple, it lets the rain in, because the batons that the tiles hang from have rotted in various places leaving gaps in the roof and so they need to be replaced.
The scaffolding around the house serves both to give the roofers easy access to the roof but more importantly it keeps them safe. The scaffolding is very strong and secure and the boards are sturdy, so the roofers know that they can more around them safely. There is also a balustrade around the top to prevent them from falling off the scaffolding were they to trip or lose their footing while walking around.
If you have ever seen the film ‘Fiddler on the roof’ you will know that the lead character, Tevye, describes the lives of each of the people in their village, like that of being a fiddler on the roof. Each person is trying to live out their lives playing a simple tune while avoiding breaking their necks. In the film he says that they are able to stay up on the roofs without losing their balance because of their traditions, traditions which for them are steeped in their strong Jewish faith.
I don’t think that any of the roofers we have up on our roof is about to take out a fiddle and start playing, but I do know that they are much safer doing their job up there because of the scaffolding that they have surrounding the house. Each of us needs to have scaffolding surrounding our lives, something that we can rely on to be there in case we trip or lose our footing. Like Tevye we too find our support through our faith. Our faith may be different to his, but it is the solid foundation on which we build our lives.
Today is Shrove Tuesday meaning that tomorrow we start the period of time in the Church calendar that is Lent. Lent is a time of reflection and a time where we endeavour to draw closer to God. As our faith grows over this time we will develop all the scaffolding we need to keep us safe as we negotiate whatever life brings us, even if it feels like we are balancing on a roof.
Father God, may we always rely on you, our strength and our guide.
Song: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less (Cornerstone - 2vv+refrain) [with lyrics for congregations] - YouTube