I find it very difficult to not feel sad when I hear people speaking of building walls. I was cleaning out my cupboard in my study when I came across a little packet with an official stamp on it proving that what I had in my hand was a little bit of the Berlin Wall.
I can remember as it it was only yesterday that people were clambering over this wall with all sorts of implements their attempt to remove what had been a terrible and costly blot on the landscape.
I was thinking of this when I was reminded of the tale of the two brothers.
Once upon a time there were two brothers who lived in adjoining farms. The farm had once been a large farm owned by the family but the brothers had decided that it would be better if they divided it equally and helped each other to manage the land yet each have their own with their own families.
Things went very well for years and years sharing the labour as needed and the farm implements.
The for no apparent reason they had a small misunderstanding which grew out of all proportion and exploded into bitter words between the two. There followed a long period of silence between the two.
One morning there was a knock on the door of the elder brothers house. He opened the door to find a carpenter standing with his tools. He was looking for a few days work and wondered if the brother could employ him.
The elder brother saw this as a wonderful opportunity. I do have a job that is needing done. He pointed to the river that ran between the two farms. He told the man that the week before his younger brother had made the river between them wider. He was sure that the brother had done it just to annoy him.
He told the man he wanted him to build something so that he would not have to stand and look at his brother across this large gulf. "Build something to so that we do not have to stand and look at each other," he said.
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. I will be able to do something to solve that problem."
The elder brother took the man to the town and they purchased wood and nails and all the supplies that would be need. He explained to the carpenter that he would be gone for the rest of the day but would be back before nightfall.
The carpenter got to work sawing and hammering and labouring all day long.
Just before sunset the brother returned. The carpenter had finished his job. The brothers eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped. He had expected to come home to see a large fence blocking his view. Instead there was a beautiful bridge across the river. it had beautiful handrails. To his surprise his younger brother was crossing the bridge to meet him. he was smiling and took him in his arms and gave him a hug.
"You are really a very humble and kind brother! After all I have done and said you have shown that brotherly love is important. I am truly sorry for the hurt I have caused.
They both turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulders and begins to leave.
"No wait! Stay a few more days. I have more tasks that are needing done."
"I would love to stay, "said the carpenter, "but I have many more bridges to build!"
There is no shame in accepting your mistakes or forgiving each other. We should be about the business of building bridges not walls and barriers.
Have a wonderful day.