All these were made of costly stones, cut according to measure, sawed with saws, back and front, from the foundation to the coping, and from outside to the great court. The foundation was of costly stones, huge stones, stones of eight and ten cubits. – 1 Kings 7:9-10 (NRSV)
When I was a homeowner, I lived in fear of foundation issues. Fixing the roof would be a pain. Windows, I had heard, were expensive to replace. But problems with the foundation sounded catastrophic.
If the stone that the rest of the house is built on is no good, what then? Try to shore things up? Take it all apart and start over?
Maybe that’s why the author of 1 Kings keeps emphasizing how costly the stones were that Solomon used for his foundations.
No doubt the materials were expensive. And the labor to cut and place stones that were 12-15 feet long. But once those great buildings were constructed on top of them, that’s when the stones really became costly. To discover a problem at that point would’ve been catastrophic.
The church has foundation issues. Fundamental unsoundness that starts all the way down at its base. For thousands of years, folks have been building on top of stones like misogyny, colonialism, heterosexism, white supremacy. Our walls are supported by abuse, greed, violence.
The damage is catastrophic. It cannot and should not be shored up.
But we worship one who said he would not leave one stone stacked on another, however costly. We are called to follow one who teaches that the right destruction is always better than the wrong repair.
Holy Destroyer, take it all apart, and start over.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.