Tuesday, October 27, 2009

redemption for the body: a spirituality of native timber

Today was a wet cold rainy day. Too wet for the builders working on our church building project to be outside. So they started in on the foyer.

The old 70s windows are to go. Replaced by new aluminium glass. The builders knock off about 5 pm. Two windows out, two windows in. A good day’s work.

Then at 5:15 pm a van arrives. It’s the Opawa Facility’s Ministry leader. A man of immense creativity, faithfullness, care and humour.

He reverses the van in and opens up his boot. And starts to rumage through the rubbish left over by the builders.

Intrigued I wander out. He tells me he’s looking for rimu. It’s a New Zealand native timber species. A beautiful, honey brown colour. And it was pretty common back in the 1970’s, used to frame windows. And when you strip back the paint, and apply coats of varnish, then recycled rimu starts to look absolutely stunning.

And together, bent over the day’s rubbish, the two of us start to dream.

What about another pulpit. Or perhaps a communion table. Or what about some stands, to hang art or allow interactive stations! We get excited. What about taking the old rimu and make something re-newed for the church. We could take the best of the 70s, the best of our past, and redeem it for the new millennium.

Posted by steve at 10:21 PM


  1. Lovely post, thank you.
    Made me think of a book by Isaiah Berlin – the Crooked Timber of Humanity

    Comment by jane — October 28, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  2. and isn’t that what the alt.church / emerging church / re-emerging church movements around the world aim to do – take the best of our past as Christian community and redeem it for Christian community in this time … lovely thoughts, thanks for your insights Steve, as always

    Comment by Sarah Agnew — October 28, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  3. which is why i posted it Sarah.

    an older servant of God
    worker with his hands
    creative restorer
    taking the old
    recasting for the new

    (it’s almost advent like isn’t it? Ana/Simeon?)


    Comment by steve — October 28, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

  4. Couldn’t agree more. I might take out my old 1970’s purple flares. Now that’s culture making!


    Comment by Chris McLeod — October 28, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

  5. not “fresh expressions” but “flared expressions”



    Comment by steve — October 28, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  6. Mmm – timber! – what about a new stand for our flowers and another (shorter) to put memorial candles on so that they don’t sit on the floor! 🙂

    Comment by Robyn — October 29, 2009 @ 10:08 am

  7. nice idea, robyn!

    Comment by lynne — October 29, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  8. That’s beautiful… I’ve been thinking about recycled beauties lots lately. Spent a bit of time over the weekend in our garden and the best thing was finding old things we could turn into planters. They’re a bit of an eclectic feature to the side of the house but they look SO COOL!! We have old rubbish/recycling bins housing strawberries, troths for our salad mixes, an old broken barbecue for our parsley (totally portable!!). Recycling is often one of the most beautiful pictures of redemption and it’s got me so excited.

    “…creative restorer
    taking the old
    recasting for the new”

    I like it 🙂

    Comment by Lani — October 30, 2009 @ 8:51 am

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