46 ‘Why do you call me “Lord, Lord”, and do not do what I tell you? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.’
Lockdown has offered many people the chance for us to have a clear out, and to put some of those Marie Kondo principles into practice and clear the clutter. And as a result, charity shops are braced for a deluge bric-a-brac and old clothes and when they reopen. But perhaps it isn’t just the cupboards that need a clear out.
Our reading is one of those passages that is so familiar that we perhaps never give it a second thought; the wise man who built his house on the rock. But I’m struck the picture is rather more subtle than I remember. In Sunday school I wouldn’t have known much about architecture but the idea of building on sand was a fairly obvious mistake. But looking more closely, the contrast in Luke 6:46-49 is not between two locations, but on the method of building. It is a the parable about the value of good foundations. The impatient builder just started building upwards, the wise builder digs until he reached the bedrock, before laying foundations, and that makes for a building that will withstand the storm.
But that raises the question about what it mean to dig down in order to lay good foundations? What do I need to clear away in order to build a life that doesn’t come crashing down when the storm hits. Isn’t that an interesting question!
And I’m struck that our lives are often built on some fairly shaky things. If we examine our motives, and what drives us, then we start to find things like pride, ambition, competitiveness, fear of missing out, envy, jealousy and even resentment or bitterness at play, much of which we are not really very proud of, and certainly don’t bring us joy.
If it is true that we need to dig down in order to build up, and if life post lockdown is to be different – simpler, calmer and set on firmer foundations, then what is the baggage that you would need to leave outside the heavenly charity shop. What would it look like to have a clear out of your heart? We need to tread carefully with this – often going through old things brings up mixed emotions, but there is no doubt that there is freedom to be found letting go of baggage that we may have held on to for many years.