The wheelbarrow, graffiti & God

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The wheelbarrow, graffiti and God!

Like many of those who are fortunate enough to have a garden, this period of lockdown has seen us getting round to tidying it up and transforming into our own design.

After a long wait, the 850kg of shingle that we ordered, eventually arrived and was safely and carefully left on a pallet in front of our garage door.

We then of course needed to get the shingle through the side gate into the back — and we do not possess a wheelbarrow.

Fortunately, our neighbour does, although she usually keeps it in her shed on her allotment.

There would be no problem whatsoever in borrowing it, she told me, but she did warn me that it had been vandalised.

One night, the said shed, was broken into and persons unknown defaced the wheelbarrow with some lurid graffiti.

There is a picture of the wheelbarrow to accompany this text — taken of course from the opposite side to where the offending image can be seen.

Although she tried to remove the graffiti, the image still remains, albeit slightly fainter than originally.

Whether it be spray painted on the wall of underpasses or scratched centuries ago into church doors and pews, the mark left by the one defacing, lives on.

Graffiti artists are often known by their style and have their own 'Tags', the equivalent of a signature.

Of course this is not a new phenomena and indeed there are 1st and 2nd Century examples of Christian graffiti that have been discovered — messages that had been scratched into surfaces, that can still be clearly seen today.

The fact is that graffiti is very hard to get rid of and you will see faded messages sprayed on motorway bridges, railway arches and elsewhere that refer to a person or an event only remembered by a few and now unknown to most.

You would need to be of a certain age to remember the "George Davis is innocent" messages that appeared all over the place in London during the 1970's.

Graffiti leaves its mark.

Think of the wheelbarrow, I was reminded of the permanency of marks and inscriptions.

Some of you will know that I have two tattoos.

One, on my right shoulder is a small Celtic symbol of the trinity, whilst the one on my upper left arm is very much larger, featuring an eagle and some words based on Isaiah 40:31.

Needless to say, much thought and careful planning went into this before the tattoo artist got to work. There is nothing worse than a tattoo that you later regret.

In the sacrament and act of baptism, after splashing water onto the baby's head three times, I make the sign of the cross on the child's forehead with my right thumb.

Once the water has evaporated though, there is no visible sign, no indelible mark to prove and bear witness to what has just taken place.

Nonetheless, that person will always and for ever, be marked as a child of God and carry that symbol to the day they die.

Of course, the proof of being marked with the sign of the cross, is nothing to do with any ecclesiastical graffiti or eternal etching and everything to do with how we live our lives.

The acid test of being known and seen as people of God, is in the way that we live, in the way that we act and speak and in who we are.

So may all that we say and all that we do, be as indelible and long lasting as the graffiti that is left behind.

Amen.

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