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The wall was old. How old, few knew. It was there. It had been there for years.
It was taken for granted. It kept the bad out. It provided security for those on the inside. That was good, for it was dangerous times. But the binary categories of good and bad had fallen on hard times. Crediting the wall with any kind of virtue was archaic. After all, they said, it was just a wall.
There was one gate. It was open during the day. It was closed at night. People came and went during the light, their business taking them elsewhere. But when dark came, it was shut. People could rest. There was peace.
The older ones, when listened to, told stories of the wall. There were many stories. True ones. Marauders in the night rebuffed. Hungry wolves howling for prey held at bay. Valiant men on the wall, fending off invaders.
“The stuff of legend,” some of the young and learned said. “Embellished stories,” said others. The city annals recorded the events. They were easily confirmed. But few took the time to do so. It is easy to have an opinion. There is nothing required. Just open your mouth. Investigation and confirmation take work. Who wants to do that?
Then an idea was posed. It was bantered for a while among a few but soon among many. The idea, question really, gained traction. “Why have a wall?” they posed. It was restrictive they said. It kept people in. It kept people out. How limiting. How deterring. How off-putting. Besides, new ideas and new ways needed to be explored.
The wall had its day, but that day had passed read the editorials. And what was unthinkable a few years before became conceivable. The question of why do we have a wall gave way to, “When are we getting rid of it?” And then getting rid of it once acted upon, took little time. Picks and sledgehammers came out. The dismantling had a party feel. It was a source of village pride. Most everyone wanted to knock down some part of the wall. Giddiness abounded as people took their swings.
It was just a matter of time before the once-great wall was gone. There were some remnants here and there. There were places where mortar and stone remained. But a quick sidestep rectified that.
Soon, the village sprawled. People came and went during the light just as they did before. The difference was mostly what went on after dark. Marauders, wolves, and invaders, once rebuffed by the wall, came freely. There were screams in the night. How could there not be? They, however, were mostly drowned out by the party in the street.
The old wall was gone. There was no more restraint. “Each man does what is right in his own eyes,” mumbled an old townsman to himself, remembering the goodness of the former days.
Some wondered if the wall would be rebuilt someday. Maybe. But would there be a village left when they did?
Pastor Rich Hamlin
June 3, 2021