Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BEAUTIFUL THINGS, Scraping The Paint

My son Elijah has a book he likes us to read called "If Only I Had a Green Nose." The story is about a woodworker named Eli and the Wemmicks. Wemmicks are the wooden people that Eli has created and given life.

There is a particular Wemmick named Puchinello who has recently met Eli and started to talk with him daily. Eli has told him how specially he was created and that he created each Wemmick "different on purpose." Puchinello has observed that a large number of Wemmicks are painting their noses green and soon learns that green noses are all the rage. Puchinello is curious as to why people would want to paint their noses green. He never intends to be a part of the trend, but others start making fun of him and a couple of his friends have already colored their noses green. Soon Puchinello gives it a try and he realizes that it makes him feel very special to be "with it." That is, until he isn't. The color soon changes from green to red, then blue, then pink, then yellow, then orange. He realizes he cannot keep up with the trends and he is tired of trying. However, he is still stuck with six layers of paint on his nose.

In the end, he goes to Eli and asks for forgiveness. He has layers of paint on his nose that he cannot get off by himself.

Eli tells him that he will always help Puchinello "be who I made you to be." He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a piece of sandpaper and tells him "but it is going to take some time." And the following words are the last in the story: "And so Puchinello and his friends followed their maker into his workshop where he spent the rest of the day removing the paint. It hurt to be sanded, but it was worth it to be normal again."

This is the story I thought about as I scraped at the layers of paint both this morning and yesterday afternoon. The top layer was red and underneath was green, then yellow, and then a greyish blue. The door has so many layers of paint it took preparatory sanding, paint stripper, and scraping to even view a tiny bit of the door's original beauty. It took two more coats of stripper and scraping to get to the grey-blue layer. The next step is to begin sanding.  A long process, but one necessary to bring the door back to a state where it can be regenerated. And note this, because of all those layers, there will be scratches and scrapes that occur in the process of removing. Those scrapes will need to be healed.

By His stripes we are healed. Sin is a mess and we make a hard shell for ourselves because more than anything else we are afraid of exposure, vulnerability, and that being the person God created us to be might not be enough. We are afraid of the laughter of others who don't care for us and we scorn the beautiful image of God who loves us and who literally was "stripped" for us.

Restoration is rough and it is a process, it is not instantaneous. That is lot to chew on for me, what about you?

Some verses I thought about as I restored and as I wrote:

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." -Isaiah 53:3-5

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost... " -Titus 3:5

"Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

 -Matthew 23:26-28

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” -Philippians 2:12-16a

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