A stand up comic was talking about decorating his house (I can’t remember which one – comic, not house). He said that as a practical joke he was considering splashing some blood red paint on the wall and writing something sinister alongside, before wallpapering over it. The idea was that this would spook the next people who bought the house when they stripped the wallpaper off in order to decorate in their own style.

I like the mischief behind that idea, even if it is rather a shocking thing for someone to discover. Many people redecorate when they move into new premises. I think it is to try to establish it as ‘theirs’, reflecting their taste and personality. It is one of the things that changes a place from being a house to a home.

I thought of this today as I saw the dolls house on our kitchen table. It was given to my daughter by a friend and gradually it is being decorated. Sally got some wallpaper samples from a local DIY store and these now adorn some of the walls in the dolls house – sneaky eh? (There is no mini reproduction of the prank mentioned above!)

When God moves into our lives by the Holy Spirit he has a massive task ahead of him. With our cooperation he does not simply redecorate but he renews, transforms, knocks through a few walls and cleans out. Occasionally he will come across scandalous mess in our lives, which we may be ashamed of, but which he will gently help us to change and transform, but only if we allow him to. That permission and participation is key. He won’t do it by force, and he won’t do it on his own.

How many of us are happy with the scandalous mess? What do we need to do in order to help clear it out?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

An elderly woman and her little grandson, whose face was sprinkled with bright freckles, spent the day at the zoo. Lots of children were waiting in line to get their cheeks painted by a local artist who was decorating them with tiger stripes.

“You’ve got so many freckles, there’s no place to paint!” a girl in the line said to the little fella.

Embarrassed, the little boy dropped his head. His grandmother knelt down next to him. “I love your freckles. When I was a little girl I always wanted freckles,” she said, while tracing her finger across the child’s cheek. “Freckles are beautiful.”

The boy looked up, “Really?” “Of course,” said the grandmother. “Why just name me one thing that’s prettier than freckles.”

The little boy thought for a moment, peered intensely into his grandma’s face, and softly whispered, “Wrinkles.”

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