Everything about this image speaks to my soul in ways that I cannot fully explain.
Some of you will be looking at the picture and will be feeling the spiders webs draping across your forehead. The smell will be musty and old, your hay fever will will twitching as your throat starts to itch. All that you see is decay, dirt and endless hours of work.
You would never take this on as a project.
You would knock it down and start again or just move to another location and into a newly built property.
The lawyer’s letter announcing your unexpected inheritance had dropped in to your mail box and the initial excitement had risen in your heart of what it may be. You had taken the long drive and your sat nav had eventually proclaimed “turn right in 100 yards and you have reached your destination.”
At the end of the tree lined driveway you saw it..old, with paint peeling and hidden behind years of neglect it rose from the soil. Getting over your initial disappointment you pull away the bushes from the door, you insert the key and slowly open the once stately door.
Everything is old.
You don’t like old.
But you persevere and eventually you reach the rear of the house and are met with the view above. It is way worse than you even could have imagined, this part of the grand drawing room. Through the windows you see nothing of the manicured lawns that lie buried in the mass of foliage, it is all just work…and a lot of it.
So you make the decision right there on the spot that any money you can make from it is a bonus so you sell it.
Then there are the others, these you would call romantics, dreamers detached from the realities of the world.
They turn into the same driveway and are immediately smitten. They see the newly trimmed trees and the neat grass lining the road, they stop outside the the door and leap from the car. In the background the beeping from car fades away with the modern stresses. Who cares if the door is open or the key still embedded into the ignition?
Opening the same door they see a place of immense beauty, deep polished wood, a hundred years old cut from ancient trees and formed into a thing of wonder. That creaking staircase adds character not annoyance, the dust can be swept and the windows repaired.
Slowly walking from room to room they hear the sounds of happy children, they detect the scent of a thousand meals and hear the clink of crystal as countless evenings are enjoyed under that solid roof.
In the orangery there is the gentle playing of instruments coming from the corner, exotic plants and fruit trees breathe life and soak up the tracking sunshine.
To restore such places is hard work, to see a broken person walk tall once more takes time and effort that few in our busy world are willing to spare.
Under the overgrown foliage of life, drugs, alcohol and pain lie treasures of great beauty, it just takes the eyes to see them.
These are the eyes of the Master, the eyes that saw the Pearl of great price and bought the field, that fanned the smoking flax back to flame, who dug around the tree one more year.
These ears, the eyes that a wounded Church and a broken world need today.