Rocky by John Skinner 1977
There once was a rock whose name was ‘Rocky’… now Rocky was a rolling stone, but unlike some stones that had rolled about a bit, Rocky had gathered a lot of moss and got into an awful mess.
One day, when he was rolling around with nothing particular to do he heard somebody reading from the ‘Master Builder’s’ Holy Book. ‘Come unto me all you little rocks and I will make you into beautiful houses.’ That’s what Rocky wanted! So he went and asked if he could be introduced to the Master Builder.
Rocky was very embarrassed when he met the Master Builder and a little ashamed. He wanted to tell him what a mess he had made of things, how many opportunities he had missed and how he longed to be a beautiful house, but the words just came out all jumbled up. The Master Builder held him gently, then tenderly but firmly washed all the dirty moss off him. Rocky had never felt so new and clean ever before, in the whole of his life, he was so excited he thought he would burst and right there and then he wanted to become a beautiful house. The Master Builder gave Rocky a big smile, then told him to wait patiently and he would send his foremen to come and build him up into a beautiful house, right from the inside out!
So Rocky waited and waited and waited and when he got tired of waiting he reminded himself of the promise, that he would be a beautiful house.
One day, Rocky heard some singing, at first he wasn’t interested, but then he recognized the words…They came from the ‘Master Builder’s Holy Book,’ perhaps this is the foreman, thought Rocky. So he coughed politely,
‘Excuse me,’ he said, ‘but weren’t you singing from the Master Builder’s Holy Book?’ ‘I’m waiting to be built into a beautiful house. I wonder if you could help me?’
‘Just come with us, we will show you the way.’
So Rocky went with them and soon his life became very busy…….
It was all do this, do that, and even worse, it was don’t do this and don’t do that. Rocky just wasn’t sure what all this had to do with becoming a beautiful house, he just trusted that if he did as he was told, he did what was the right thing, then one day the promise would come true.
At last…..the day came when Rocky was to get his windows, he would be able to see for himself just how things were getting on, what a shock Rocky got!
He couldn’t believe his windows! For all the other houses he could see were standing side by side, in rows of grey. They just weren’t beautiful; in fact they all looked exactly the same. What was worse, he could see his own reflection in the windows of the houses opposite and guess what, he looked just like every other house.
Rocky was so upset; he went straight to the chief house and said,
‘There’s something wrong here, I wanted to be a beautiful house and just look at me and while I’m on the subject, look at you!’
The chief house didn’t let Rocky see how angry he was at him; it wasn’t really not the thing for a house in his position to do. Instead, he gave Rocky a little smile, the type that leaves you feeling cold and said to him;
‘Rocky, the trouble with you is that you have nothing to do. You need a job, something to make you feel important and take your mind off yourself. He says here in the Master Builders’ Holy Book: Go into the world and make other little houses just like you!’
Rocky didn’t feel he could argue with the Master Builder’s Holy Book, so off he went to make other little houses just like him. He did manage to make one house, but that house was just like him, not beautiful at all. And that made Rocky feel more guilty that ever. Rocky was hurt and angry, so he went back to the chief house.
‘You have let me down, I only wanted to be beautiful and I’m not beautiful at all. I’m all dirty on the inside too and none of you seems to be able to help me, I just can’t take anymore!’
By this time several houses had gathered around to see what was going on.
‘Shhhh….shhhh,’ said one of the houses, ‘somebody might hear you Rocky, we have our reputation to think about, our standards to maintain.’
Rocky just couldn’t take anymore. He cracked up. His walls crumbled and fell in a heap and his heart lay broken in the rubble for everyone to see. Overcome with embarrassment the other houses turned away from him.
‘There’s no place for you here Rocky,’ said the chief house. ‘You don’t belong on Holy Hill, you’re a failure, you’ll have to move to the City of Ruins.’
Some of the houses had tears in their windows as they watched Rocky set off for the City of Ruins.
Down in the City of Ruins things weren’t so bad. The houses looked in a bit of a mess but at least they left Rocky alone. Soon Rocky made lots of friends, he felt happier and accepted. Deep down though he knew he was different. He had heard the Master Builder’s voice and that made all the difference.
One day there was a knock at the door,
‘Hello, who are you?’ asked Rocky
‘I’m the foreman of course,’ came the reply, ‘where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you; I’ve come to make you into a beautiful house.’
Rocky stood, door wide open, not sure how to respond, could this really be the foreman? What about Holy Hill? Why did it all go wrong? What would happen this time?
The foreman stood patiently at the door, waiting to be invited inside.
‘Okay,’ said Rocky, ‘you better come in.’
The foreman soon made himself at home and Rocky felt comfortable having him. They talked endlessly about the Master Builder, whom the foreman seemed to know so well, that Rocky felt they were probably related, though he didn’t like to ask!
The day came to begin work at building Rocky into a beautiful house, much to Rocky’s surprise and horror, the foreman got out the Master Builder’s Holy Book.
‘You can put that away for a start,’ said Rocky, ‘I’ve had enough of that to last me a lifetime, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t, don’t… I feel so guilty just at the sight of it!’
So the foreman put the Holy Book away and said nothing more about the matter. But Rocky wanted to be beautiful so he asked the foreman if together they could just peep into the Holy Book, just a peep mind you. When the foreman spoke words from the Holy Book they became alive, they spoke hope into Rocky. No more don’t do this and don’t do that, but promises that Rocky could make all his own.
‘Let’s get on with making me beautiful, please foremen. That’s what the Master Builder has promised for me.’
So the work began.
‘Can I have patio windows? A green carpet I think. And an open fire of course!’
The foreman said ‘Yes!’ and set to work immediately cleaning the rooms in which Rocky lived and even the dark corners where he kept things hidden away. Rocky had kept some rooms locked inside, but he foreman insisted that they be opened, to be cleaned and let the light in.
Rocky was quite embarrassed letting the foreman clean up after him, and sometimes he found it hard letting go of some of the old things. But this was the price of being beautiful and that was more important.
Rocky’s friends and neighbours soon began to notice the changes that were happening,
‘Hey Rocky, what’s happened to you? You’re looking great, what’s the secret then eh?’
‘It’s the Master Builder, he sent his foreman to make me into a Beautiful House. I’m still finding it hard to believe all that’s happened to me.’
‘Do you think it could happen for me, too?’
‘Well, yes, I could ask the foreman to visit you, to tell you about the Master Builder.’
Soon there were several houses being rebuilt in the City of Ruins, each completely different, but all transformed from the state they used to be in.
One day there came a knock at the door, and Rocky was almost beside himself with excitement.
‘Oh, Master Builder, it’s you, come in, come in. Sit there in the best armchair and please don’t say anything, not yet- just let me look at you. You’ve done so much for me; I don’t know how to thank you,’ said Rocky
‘Rocky, I have a job for you to do’ said the Master Builder.
‘Anything, anything for you, you’ve done so much for…..’
‘Rocky I want you to go back to Holy Hill’ said the Master Builder
‘Oh no, Master Builder, anywhere but there, you don’t know what hey think of me. They’d break my windows, they’d….’
Rocky tried not to look into the Master Builder’s face and instead he found he was looking at the Master Builder’s tired feet that were cut and torn after going after rocks like him. He looked at the Master Builder’s hands that were bleeding from the work of building houses and he knew he could no longer refuse. He knew the Master Builder loved him.
‘I’ll go’ he said, ‘It’ll be hard but I’ll go.’
They agreed it would be easier if he went by night and so the next morning what a commotion there was on Holy Hill!
‘Have you seen?’
‘What is it?’
‘It’s one of them down there, up here!’
‘What’s it doing here?’
‘Don’t you recognize it?’
‘It’s Rocky, it’s Rocky!- It can’t be, he looks different!’
Some of the houses were quick to ask him,
‘Rocky, what’s happened to you? You look beautiful!’
But others just muttered disapprovingly and said,
‘Worldly! That’s what it is, worldly!’
Then at night, it wasn’t in daylight, one of the houses came to visit him.
‘Rocky, you’re changed. How can I become a beautiful house too? Is it possible?’
Rocky remembered that this was one of the houses who had had tears in their windows when he was thrown off Holy Hill.
‘Yes, it’s possible; you can be built into a beautiful house- If you’re prepared to pay the price. There’s only one way- you’ll have to take down your walls.’
‘Take down my walls! I can’t do that; everyone would see how dirty I am on the inside.’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Rocky, ‘it is the only way.’
One morning, when Rocky looked out if his windows, he saw that his friend had done just that, and he cried, for he knew how hard it would be for him. But then the building work began and some of the other houses did the same. And so the work is still going on and houses are being re-built, some right there on Holy Hill and some down in the City of Ruins. All thanks to the Master Builder who gave everything he had so we could be beautiful.
Wherefore the law was
our schoolmaster to
bring us unto Christ.
That we might be
justified by faith