Renovation as a spiritual discipline…

This week I am on annual leave, and am taking the opportunity to do some work on the house.

Our house is old and well lived in so is always in need of renovation and repair. When time, energy and money allows, I will start a project, and work like a slave until it is done. I get stressed as I feel responsible for getting the thing finished.

This time, however, things are different- as I am the understudy to a craftsman.

Michaela’s uncle is up here to upgrade the plumbing.  This involves ripping out a massive inefficient old boiler that is asthmatic and rusty, and virtually rebuilding the boiler room around a sleek and compact new model. We will then rip out the old hot water tank, which is surrounded by a network of pipes- many of which are redundant.

What we will be left with is something that still burns the same gas, but quite a bit less of it, and will provide the house with heat and hot water just like the old one- only it will be reliable, and cleaner.

And after a day testing my bad back carrying huge bits of old plumbing, and sawing and drilling, I am tired, but not stressed. I am working with a man who has been a plumber for 40 plus years. There is next to nothing he does not know about pipes and plungers. And he has pride in a job not just done, but well done.

So, this left me thinking…

We, the church, are in need also of constant renovation. Some (perhaps me sometimes) would even wish to demolish and rebuild. Houses are to be lived in, and as we live in them, they become tired and worn. Plumbing leaks and boilers break down.

Technology brings new innovations- new gadgets and household appliances, new ways of using space, and so the building evolves and changes- or it’s value will plummet, and it might find itself only fit for selling on to property developers, or- dereliction and demolition.

But- people still need a roof- a place of warmth and shelter, where family can be nurtured and loved.

So renovation- which is born of hope, nurtured in vision and achieved through hard work, broken finger nails and skinned knuckles.

And as we renovate- how we need to learn under skilled craftsmen- men who need to prove nothing, and take no personal glory from the acts of resurrection they release. Rather the quiet satisfaction of a life lived well.

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