Wednesday, January 12, 2022

14 Inches to the Northwest

I actually wrote this one back in November 2017, but Millennium Tower is back in the news again, so here goes ...

Apparently building your house on something quasi-rock-like won’t cut it.

San Francisco’s Millennium Tower has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches to the northwest since 2006. If that sounds like nothing, bear in mind that this is a 58-storey state-of-the-art concrete monster that drew millions in investment dollars from people like former NFL quarterback Joe Montana.

The problem? Not built down to bedrock.

Does that take you back 2000 years or what?

Bedrock is the Confession

Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and the Lord replied, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” That’s bedrock right there: the confession, I mean, not the man. On his own, Peter was just another fallible guy, as he later proved on multiple occasions, making many mistakes both during the Lord’s life on earth and afterward.

But that confession wasn’t one of them. It might have been his finest hour. As the Lord put it, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Bedrock. You can build a church on that.

Bedrock is the Christ

Bedrock is also Christ himself, as scripture tells us in many different ways. Peter, who ought to know all about rocks, quotes an Old Testament prophecy to that effect:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Christ was the rock that followed Israel, and the rock that refreshed them in the wilderness. He is Daniel’s stone, cut out by no human hand, that became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

He is bedrock, and the person who trusts in him will never be put to shame. You can build your reputation on that.

Bedrock is the Word, Obeyed

Finally, bedrock is what he said. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Bedrock is the words of Christ, and the act of building on them is obedience. Trust and obey.

Bedrock. You can build a life on that.

But notice that for the words of Christ to endure and support us, the necessary assumption is that they have been accurately reported. If we cannot trust the reporters, we cannot build on the words they reported.

The person who says, “I follow Christ” but does not believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the word we have received about him and from him has stopped short of digging his foundation down to bedrock.

Only 14 Inches

Meh. Maybe tilting 14 inches to the northwest sounds like nothing to you. And if it stopped there, it’s probably not such a big deal.

But it won’t. Engineer Jerry Dodson, who owns a Millennium condo, makes a daily trip to the basement to look at the spreading spider web of cracks. Nice way to live. Frank Jernigan says he lost between US$3-4 million when he sold his unit earlier this year, fearful of what might happen in an earthquake.

A fortune went into the Millennium Tower. Famous people live there. It was even built to code. But it’s sinking and tilting because they didn’t dig far enough down.

If your life or mine is currently doing something similar, maybe that’s our problem.

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