How firm is a foundation?

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins

“Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.”

This short story, so often repeated in our nursery days, relates the pigs’ soundness of the construction of their homes, as well as the attitudes and efforts of the builders themselves. Each pig had assessed the needs of the portending onslaughts of their surroundings. Two had forecast incorrectly, seemingly only building to the minimum required standards, to only find out the real peril which awaited them.

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“A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, ’What juicy tender meals they will make!’ He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first two houses and huffed and puffed and quickly blew them down. The frightened little pigs ran to the house which was made of brick. The big bad wolf huffed and puffed and could not blow it down. He tried to enter, through the chimney, but was kept away by a strong fire.”

“The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their houses with bricks and lived happily ever after.”    

While the story is naïve in its presentation and content, the message for we Christians is just as profound for us, in our maturity. While we may not live, “happily ever after,” as in some fairy-tale, most of us will enjoy many of the pleasures of God’s unending gifts.

In Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesian’s, he refers to the literal building of the spiritual Church, as founded by Jesus Christ. He relates, “You are fellow citizens

with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Like the three little pigs, we too may build the foundations of our faith with the less-than adequate standards, as we perceive them to be only the necessary minimums, and ignoring the blueprints for much firmer constructions; given to us by our Lord.

Even if we rely, on our admittedly faulty judgments, that our faith construction as being made with solid brick, we run the peril of faulty design and sloppy installation. Even greater is the risk we carry when we presume our brick is so much better than others, as the bricks in our hearts turn to unrepentant, unforgiving stones.

If we are making brick, as Scripture tells us, we are an integral part of God’s temple. However, this is only the structure of God’s ministry on earth. If we are not truly within His church, then it is only an empty building, lacking the active message of our Lord and therefore is only a mere mirage, an illusion, of Christianity; founded upon shifting sands.

As the third little pig welcomed the other pigs into the safety of the stronger house, we too are called upon to welcome others into the safety of God’s house.

Perhaps they may not be like us, or we do not know them, or they may not really know Christ, but we should remember that Christ Jesus accepted all those who were “different,” and who came knocking on His door. He is the foundation stone of Faith, upon which all else rests.