The story is told that years ago in Ireland a certain castle was one of the architectural gems of the Emerald Isles. It was called Castle Wray.
The structure fell into disrepair and finally was uninhabited. As often happens, peasants from nearby began to scavenge stones from it. The stones had been cut and shaped with great craft, and so they were excellent building materials. Too, the peasants did not have to dig up the stones. So, little by little, the Castle Wray was dismantled.
One day Lord Londonbury, the sole surviving heir of this Irish Castle, visited it. He saw that the castle was being scavenged for its stones. So he summoned his agent and ordered him to build a six-foot-high stone wall around the castle. Then he left, feeling that the castle would be safe from trespassers.
Three or four years later, the owner returned. He found a six-foot wall, just as he had ordered. But there was no castle. The castle had vanished. It had disappeared into thin air. The owner summoned his agent and asked why the agent had not carried out his order. The agent insisted that he had indeed carried out the owner's order. He had built the wall. The owner asked, "Then where is the castle?" The agent replied, "Ah, is it for me, my Lord, to be going all over Ireland picking up stone when the finest stone in Ireland was right here in the castle?"
He had torn down the castle in order to build the wall.
As a church, we have certain options. We can spend our time, energy, and resources building the wall…and forfeit the church. Or we can invest our time, energy, and resources building the church and forfeit the wall. Wall or church …which will it be?
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