Scargill, (and God’s Great Colour Palette…)
A Guest Blog by Working Friend Tim Proudler
After a long journey across a grey landscape on a dull and damp day, I finally arrive back at Scargill. It’s been a few months.
The decorators are in – a few dedicated Working Friends are there too, all busy, hard at work. The smell of fresh paint fills the place. Dust sheets all over the floors. The Old House is enjoying a little bit of TLC. What is it about this place that makes it so special? The new paint on the walls is light in colour, but there’s another palette being used at Scargill too. Somewhere, seemingly in the very fabric of this place, is something quite remarkable – I think of it as ‘God’s great colour palette’. It’s always overflowing with colours and it’s always in use. Everyone has access to this resource – even guests.
There are many colours to choose from, but the main ones go by the names Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Self-control. I should warn you – the last one, Self-control can sometimes be a bit tricky and it does catch people out. For some reason it often results in a lot of laughter. Community (and Scargill’s extended Community of Friends and Companions) all have their preferred colours – the one’s they’re good at using. But there are also the ones that they’re less practiced at, and are trying to learn how to use. The colours can also
be combined to create some wonderful shades. When properly blended you can achieve compassion, a listening ear, care, understanding and acceptance to name but a few. There’s one mix that everyone here is keen to create – it’s a shade called ‘Hospitality’. It’s hugely popular, so much so that it’s now become Scargill’s ‘House Mix’. There’s a lot of Love poured into that one. But all God’s paints are good, however mixed. This place is so full of colour. It can get messy at times, but this is God’s art room, God’s picture, and there’s ‘work-in-progress’ everywhere. There are paintings containing laughter, others display understanding, reconciliation, forgiveness and even healing. They are simply stunning. Some people use paint rollers to apply God’s colours, others thick brushes. Some splash colour, others select fine brushes and focus on intricate detail. Some of the children add colour with stickers, felt-tips and
even thick crayons.
The guests tend to get a lot of colour on them while here – it’s inevitable. Some are a little reluctant or shy at first, but so many seem to end up leaving like walking graffiti art, but so often smiling too, even if they weren’t when they first arrived. Messy? Perhaps. Beautiful? Yes, and amazing. After a few days I have to get in to my car and drive back, outside the gates of Scargill. After a while I reach the motorway where I get cut up and shown the middle finger by a white-van driver. (Hang on – it was you that cut me up?). I reach some drab services and stand in a grey line of largely silent people, to get a rather sad, overpriced and somewhat flaccid sandwich. Not many people laughing here. It’s also a bit devoid of colour – a world containing mainly shades of grey. But now I’ve got my eye in, I’ve noticed one or two people who also seem to have some of God’s colour palette, and they’re splashing it here, into this grey environment. I watch what’s happening. It’s surprising what even a small speck of colour achieves, even if it’s just a kind smile towards another person. Usually well received, brightening up a few surprised souls. Some people are just looking on, not responding – well, not yet anyway. I’m really beginning to see that we should ncourage those who step out to paint a little of God’s colour palette into this world. And perhaps we can join them, painting God’s colours in to our own communities, and into any environment in which we find ourselves?
By the way, did I mention that these colours can be taken away from Scargill? And the more you use, the more they will replenish. But, even if you did find yourself running low, you can always come back and get more. It’s funny – it seems to me that even the ‘white-van driver’ might find himself knocked sideways by one or other of the shades – there is a shade called Grace that God fully perfected through his Son, Jesus Christ. And of course there’s that simple
but timeless primary colour called LOVE…