Once upon a time there was a great city, majestic in its beauty, renowned for its wealth, and honored because of its people’s love for their King. Before the King left on a long journey, he fortified his city with a great wall,and he charged his people to keep it strong and in good repair, and to pass on to their children the legacy of the stone wall. While the King was gone, vicious enemies attacked the city, and the people’s valiant fighting would have been to no avail had they not had the wall. The wall kept the enemies out, it kept the little ones and mischeivous older ones from wandering off, and it united the people together as they worked, played, and worshipped within the wall’s boundaries.
The people were very careful to keep their wall strong and in good repair, and to pass on to their children the legacy of the wall as well, and for a long while, the wall was kept in impeccable condition.
Slowly, imperceptibly, carelessness began to creep in, and the people began to forget to check the wall until one dark day they neglected it altogether. And very shortly thereafter, a pair of fighting billy goats rammed into the wall during their sparring, and a moss-covered rock quivered,then toppled off of the wall. But nobody even noticed.
Who can say how long it was before the energetic lad walked that way? Perhaps days, perhaps weeks. But his long legs were about to carry him past the broken section, when something caught his eye. No, not the displaced rock,for his parents had never told him of the importance of the wall. Instead, the alluring view beyond the wall swept into his vision and captured his heart.
Before long, all the people had scattered throughout the countryside, intent upon going out for a lark, and the wall was left unguarded and untended, an easy target for the raiders from beyond the hills who came riding in a cloud of dust.
The people frantically tried to repair their wall before the horsemen arrived.They broke their backs passing stones down a line to try to fill in the gaps. But the more they threw boulders into the gap, the more uneasy the wall became, until it would collapse, bringing down more with it. The effort was in vain, and years too late.
The people were captured and carried off by their enemies, leaving a broken-down city with nary a stone stacked upon another stone to testify to its former greatness. And the great King sorrowed. Thus the city would have remained for centuries had not one man remembered the legacy of the wall.
This man became desperate to repair the wall, to return his nation to its majesty. He could not eat or sleep, so burdened was he with this great desire, and the King himself used his great might to procure passage for this man and a group of the people, that they might repair the wall.
The morning the repair was to begin, the people stood in the rubble at dawn, surveying the barren and stark landscape. Their joy at repairing the wall was soon overtaken by solemnity as they worked all that day at clearing the site for the wall and made hardly a dent. The day passed into night, and the days fell into weeks; they fell into bed at night with blisters swelling their fingers and bruises mottling their legs and aches tensing their backs. There were times when the people simply knew that they would not be able to finish the wall, when the believed the ever-present voice of their mocking enemies that theirs was an impossible task. But they persevered, and on the day when the people began laying stone upon stone, they remembered the legacy of the wall.
They remembered the stone their ancestor had set as pillar and dedicated to their King when the King had visited him and promised this nation would be great. They remembered the two stones upon which the King had written his great laws. As they heaved stone after stone and fitted it exactly into place, they remembered the twelve stones their fathers had set up as a memorial to the day the King had stopped the raging waters of a great river for them to cross over. As a few ill-fitted stones collapsed every now and then, the people’s frustration gave way to remembrance of the city their King had given their fathers by collapsing its wall, and they purposed that they would never again forget their wall. The people were nearly done with the wall now, and as they laid the final stones they remembered the five stones another one of their fathers had heaved with his slingshot, slaying instantly a brutal, giant enemy.
And when the wall was finished, the men stood with their arms about their wives and their hands upon their children’s heads, smiles upon their dirty, sun-burnt faces. With the sun setting behind them, its warm golden rays reflecting off the stones in the wall like so many prisms, they marvelled and remembered indeed the legacy of the wall.
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.…He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
…And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:…The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones….Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.”
-Revelation 21:3-4,7,10-12, 18-19a, 25-27
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.