Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Lent: it demands much more than a topcoat
What, after all, is the painter? And what is the plasterer? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each their task. One hammers, another plasters, yet another sands, while yet another undercoats. Until finally one paints. So neither the one who sands nor the one who paints is anything. They have one purpose, for only God makes it grow. For we are all God’s co-workers. The Renovators translation of 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.
Yesterday the family room got it’s topcoat. It was a wonderful moment, to sit with a glass of wine, surrounded by a few tired painters, and admire the spotless ceiling and “crushed marble” walls. In a few hours, we gained a room.
But it had taken weeks. The ceiling needed to be lined. The walls needed to be gibbed and mountains of plaster applied to hide the inevitable irregularities created by extending an older house. It all needed sanding, hours and hours of creating of white, fine dust. Which had to be swept off the floors repeatedly. Followed by undercoats, then ceiling top coats, before finally the application of the top coat colour. What took hours was based on weeks of work.
Sitting looking at the walls, nursing a satisfied glow, I must confess to a moment of anger.
It’s Lent. We live in an instant society and in this instant society, it’s easy to get seduced by an instant spirituality, the offer of a quick and shiny topcoat.
The danger is that we are just applying a quick top coat to the rot in our lives, in our relationships, in our society. We live in a deeply troubled world, one that demands we look deeply, reflect slowly and take considered action.
Lent is the invitation to so much more than a topcoat.