Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Scraping and Painting

They are preparing the outside of the buildings in my apartment complex for painting. We received notice about 2 weeks ago that they would be power washing and for us to move all objects off the balconies and porches. I only saw the workers power wash one day. Otherwise they have been stripping/scrapping by hand and replacing rotten boards and then priming the bare wood. They have yet to paint, but I figure they will do all that at once. It all seems to be a very apt analogy for our spiritual lives. While good materials and craftsmanship may have been used/done originally on constructing our spiritual home, after 10, 15, or 20 years we fall into mild disrepair and we must be cleaned up, fixed, and given a fresh coat.

Some areas of our lives have been well-kept, or have suffered little weathering, and will only require a light wash and some fresh paint. The parts that are cracked and rough will need to be scrapped, prepared, and painted in order to return to a presentable state. And then other parts are completely rotted out—maybe we used faulty materials originally or maybe that area suffered more wear and tear or weathering—whatever the case, that part is no longer viable and must be removed, replaced, primed, and painted. Just like with the apartment building, we live in our spiritual home and some parts are great—maybe we go to church every week, tithe, participate in Bible study—those parts are strong and presentable. Then there are the rough spots—splintered and cracking—maybe our daily devotional time with God is less than consistent or we fail to take Sabbath or we are holding a grudge. Those parts need to be scraped away, cleaned up, primed, and redone. Finally, there are the rotten boards—the spiritual demons. We may be ashamed to have them exposed or fearful of the pain and having them removed. Those rotten places in our spiritual home may be there for a variety of reasons: 1) poor materials—maybe we inherited some “old junk” and had to use it. 2) Neglect—we didn’t have the time or energy to deal with those rotten places. 3) Weathering—we experienced a crisis, trial, or storm and were battered in the process. Rotten boards would include racism, sexism, homophobia, elitism, classism, prejudice, apathy, bigotry, and indifference. None of those rotten boards is healthy or edifying for our spiritual home. None of them will protect us through future spiritual storms. And whatever the reason for the disrepair, those problematic boards need to be removed, replaced, prepared, and painted.

Sometimes this upkeep work is tedious and time consuming. It can be costly, and it forces us to be exposed and vulnerable. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile, and not just worthwhile, but necessary. It is necessary for the well-being of our spiritual home. We must take the time and energy to do this work—otherwise we risk corrosion, rot, mold, cracking, and eventually complete disrepair.

No comments: