I am a member of AAA.
Our first year of marriage, we locked ourselves out of our car three times,
and have mostly maintained membership since.
As a member, I receive AAA Northern New England Journey magazine.
They often have articles that interest me.
But two days ago, I sat down to read one about New England's rock walls.
I love our rock walls.
In fact, I engineered one myself several years ago.
In the AAA article, it mentioned a workshop two men were giving
to pass the craft on.
It's a skill that could be lost, if it isn't taught.
The article explained some of the principles behind building one.
For stability, the wall cannot be plumb.
It tapers in a gentle A shape, the weight at the bottom.
But this really caught my attention:
"When mortar isn't involved, just two things hold a wall together:
gravity and friction...
Always maximize the contact between stones; the friction is important.
When a stone is placed correctly,
it's almost a visceral sensation, according to Headrick.
'You can feel that stone serving a purpose
when it clicks into place and fills a void,' he said.
And yet, as he and MacMartin acknowledged, it is rare to find a perfect stone.
'Every stone is going to have a virtue and create a problem,
and the key is to create a problem with a solution,' said MacMartin.
'It's like chess or Tetris. You always have to think ahead.'
One solution that appeared to take some students by surprise
was the use of so-called hearting stone,
angular wedge-shaped pieces
measuring anywhere from three to five inches in diameter.
Those stones comprise the heart of the wall,
shimming the spaces between the larger stones
that present the wall's public face.
Unlike pea gravel, hearting stone prevents the components of a wall from shifting.
And it brings another benefit as well.
'There's a source of pride
knowing we placed every stone in a wall,' Headrick said."
(article written by Peter Crabtree)
The Scripture speaks of us as living stones being placed together.
I have long had a mental image of a long line of Christians from the ages,
coming one by one to lay down in the wall,
each one carrying the implements of his martyrdom --
and following behind our Lord Jesus Christ with His cross on His shoulder.
He is the master builder, and each one of us presents Him with a problem,
being imperfect, and not exactly suited to our positions.
But we are each of us a solution, too, in His hands.
He places us where gravity pulls us inward and downward,
and where friction rubs us against each other, in perhaps uncomfortable ways.
But that gravity and that friction give us stability, and hold us together.
They show His skill in building something to last.
The public faces of His building are not the strength of it.
It is the small stones at the heart of it
that allow friction and gravity to be evenly shared throughout the wall.
We bear each other's burdens through our placement,
each one of us essential in the integrity of the structure.
Each one carefully considered for its faults and its virtues:
used to strengthen the whole, and to compensate for someone else's weakness,
while also being perfected by the stones placed to hold us up.
Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless
but chosen by God as valuable.
Come as living stones,
and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple,
where you will serve as holy priests
to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.
~1 Peter 2:4,5