Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stirred as a Pot of Paint

I'm enjoying reading Dr Helen Roseveare's book Living Faith: Willing to be Stirred as a Pot of Paint. I have just come to that part in her story that provides the explanation for the book's title. During reconstruction work in Zaire in 1969 following the devsatation caused by the civil unrest in 1964-5, Dr Roseveare was involved in the development of a medical training school. She writes:
Moving around inspecting all the different areas of work, I went in search of the painters (student volunteers) to see how they were faring. They were not in the first classroom, which suprised me. When I did not find them in the second room, I became suspicious. I looked at the woodwork around the door, which had not noticeably changed since I last saw it. I touched it gingerly. There was a sort of brown, sticky "goo"... I moved quickly across to the library. There they were, chatting away, brushes in and out of the paint pot, up and down the woodwork, totally unconcious that they were making no impression. The window frames looked just as before. I strode across to them and looked into the paint pot.

There was a sold mass of white matter, under a very thin remaining layer of rapidly dissapearing linseed oil. The pot had not been stirred....

I demonstrated the art of stirring. Hard work, right down to the bottom of the can, till all that was solid was stirred into the diluting oil, to become one consistency. It changed colour. It would not go so far now, but it would achieve the purpose for which it was designed. I left the two students, duly mollified, I thought, painting away with renewed vigour. Some half hour later, I suddenly realised that I had failed to explain that the paint would need stirring every so often until the job was completed...

We needed to be stirred until there was no seperation left between solid and liquid, between secular and spiritual, weekdays and Sundays. Our lives needed to be one of consistency, through and through, ready to do the task for which we were created. This stirring would need to be continued daily until the task was completed.
I wonder if we could pray as she did:
Please go on working in me until I really am transformed into the image of your Son. Today I mean this, with every ounce of my being, but when You start doing it, and the stirring hurts, and I feel I can't take it anymore, maybe I'll cry out to You to stop. Please when that happens, don't listen to my cry to stop, but just remember my vow to you today to be available to You, and just go on working away at me to make me like You want you to be.

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