Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attics and Temples

Rich Mullins was one of the most gifted, Godly men I had ever had the chance to know about.  I’d never met him, yet I feel when I see him at Home, we’ll just start chatting about everything.  I hold his music close to my heart and use the lyrics for prayers sometimes.  He wrote a column in a quarterly magazine for several years, and after his death in September 1997, the magazine published a book featuring all of his articles.  This is one of those that I felt as if you should know about.

 Attics and Temples

 My new apartment is in the attic of Jim and Megan's house. 

Its a big old one roomer with a mind of its own, a cacophony of lines that occur at 45 and 90 degree angles, with floors that redefine "level".  This  attic has its own idea of what "square" means, its studs have their own interpretation of the classic 24-inch center.

Right now, the whole thing is about two weeks away from being much more than a lot of potential, right now its resistant to change, openly hostile to  what my ideas of what it ought to be.  I am--with the help of some friends,  a hammer, a saw, some nails and a wrecking bar--enlightening it, changing its look, convincing it that it is not merely ugly, but is a space full of promise  and beauty and order and life.

I suspect that is wants to cooperate, but its hard and I must be patient.   Whoever it was that shaped the attic before me did so with some pretty  big nails, deep cuts, hard hammers and rough saws.  They considered  the attic to be wasted space, storage space, a distance between a roof and a ceiling, and nothing more.  They slopped over the walls with  cheap, nasty paneling, covering the floors with ugly carpet.

Sometimes in the heat of my toil labor, I give in to fits of selfish rage,  which is really frustration over my lack of skill than the progress of the apartment. But late at night, when I look over the piles of dust and dry wall and knee deep debris that remain during this reconstructive effort, I am strangely moved by the place, and I proclaim the Gospel to it softly.  I say, "Attic, I know how it hurts to be torn up.  I am often choked on the litter left by my own remodeling.  I know what its like to settle (by the act of strong will) into the despair of believing you are nothing more than wasted space. 

"I felt the blows of heavy hammers that nailed me to a sense of uselessness.  I have been shaped by some pretty careless workers who came to the task of making me and lacked any craftsmanship or artistry.  I know the pain of wanting to be changed, and yet being distrustful of changes, of wanting to be worked on, but being suspicious of the intentions of the Worker. 

“But here is some good news, my Attic friend... (and anyone out there who feels like this, including me : ) ....  He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  However messy it may be now, however confusing and scary it appears, however endless the task may seem, we will some day be so glorious, beautiful, alive! 

“There is much tearing out to do, a lot to give up.  No thin coat of new paint, no shallow, petty cover up will do. Its not good enough to cover up imperfection, it must be corrected.   Art, beauty, function...  these things take time.  They may take 'til the day of Christ Jesus."

We are not wasted space.  We are temples of a being far greater than ourselves, temples being built to be inhabited and brought to life.  Though we may not understand the process, our Rebuilder does.  We are His workmanship and the place where He lives.  Little Attic, do not despair.  I'm being made by a Master Carpenter, and I'm learning a little about building too.  Essay written by Rich Mullins, Sept 1993

I read this just tonight, for the first time in a while.  Its amazing how God will direct you to certain things that you need to read/hear at exactly the point that you need to read/hear it.

The Summer of Blogging Day Forty Five

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