224 Years Out of Plumb
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Leaning Tower of Pisa stands 183.27 feet over the town if Pisa, Italy, and is one of the best known sites in the world. Construction began in 1173, and was finally completed in 1372 when the bell-chamber was added. Pisa got its name in 600 BC from a Greek word meaning “marshy land”! So, it’s no wonder that it started leaning almost immediately after construction began, and is now 17 feet out of plumb, and leaning further another 1/20 of an inch each year. If nothing is done, the tower will fall, and its fall will be great!
The preceding paragraph was the opening of our Pastor’s sermon this morning where he used Jesus’ parable of the house built on sand in Matthew 7 to talk about the foundation on which our lives should be built. As I contemplated his sermon on the way home, I began thinking about not only our individual lives, but the life of our nation and how out of plumb it has become. The question you have to ask yourself is “Am I out of plumb? Did I get that way because of a faulty foundation?”
Ask yourself another question: How does something start leaning? You would think that a town named after marshes would give the builders some clue as to the foundation needed to under-gird any structure there, but as it turns out, the tower had only a 10-foot foundation – not hardly enough for a 7 story building, even on firm ground! So, it’s obvious the problem there was a faulty foundation from the start. However, there are other ways to topple a building. A devastating enough storm could topple any building. An sufficiently large outside force against one side of a building would topple it. Or, you could simply alter the foundation on which it was built.
In 1789 our Constitution was ratified by the states, and went into effect in March of that year. The result of the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention that gave us the document upon which all our laws are supposedly based was a marvel of its time. The only time, besides the Congress of 1776 and the Convention of 1787, that this many intelligent men were in the same room was when Christ was assembled with his Apostles in the upper room (and you could have left off the Apostles and the result would have been the same!). The foundation of our government was based in no small part on the Gospel of Christ, the precepts of the Bible, and on related writings and thought down through time. The basis of our society is that our rights are given by God, and only God can revoke them.
Down through the year, though, men have “fiddled” with the foundation. The Congress has passed laws, and some Constitutional Amendments; the Courts have issued rulings; Presidents have issued orders; and the result of all of this has been to erode the foundation of our Country – the Constitution – and ultimately the precepts upon which it was based. This is true, largely, because We the People allowed it.
Consequently, we now live in a society that has a flawed foundation. The concept of “case law”, where laws are based on previous court rulings rather than measured against the Constitution, as well as deeply flawed rulings and regulations issued at all levels of our government, have all conspired to move us away from and to alter that original foundation. Additionally, and more importantly, individual Americans have drifted away from the Truth – that God is God of all, regardless of whether you believe like I do or not, and man cannot change that. Man can only suffer the consequences of our own actions, and when we do, somehow, we manage to blame God for the results.
In the Year of our Lord, 2013, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, we are a nation out of plumb. How much? Well, about 224 years worth. Like the Tower, repairing our nation will take massive repairs to our foundation, or again, like the tower, we will fall, and that fall will be great. Every nation down through history that has been out of plumb with God has fallen. He has graciously allowed us to continue without falling, but like in all of history, his patience may be running out.
So here’s my question: How do you stand? If measured against the plumb line of God, how do you measure up? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it? Our nation is only as good as our citizens. Therein lies our problem!
Where are you in that mix?