I feel bored at church sometimes… sure! Sunday mornings are the tail end of my work week, I have spent a long couple days and nights at the bar (managing/not drinking!) and I can be exhausted tired during worship. My mind wanders just like anyone’s can, and last week it settled upon a 20 foot long piece of golden oak colored wooden trim.
The trim piece hangs horizontally above the choir area, there are two, but one is larger. I caught myself staring at it.
It is not the feature piece of woodwork hanging at the front of our sanctuary, that would be the Cross itself. No, this is just a decorative board that probably covers a sheetrock edging underneath the pipe organ pipes…
The trim piece is quite long. I noticed myself looking for a seam, for a joint, for the place where two or more planks were expertly connected together. I found it. At least one of them was visible from my seat in the pews.
That one long clear rectangle of oak was made up of different parts. Maybe they were from the same tree, but probably not. They were two nice clear sections of those trees. They were not all knotty and blemished, but I’d bet other parts of their original trunks were. Those segments of wooden cellulose were planed down, made smooth and shaped. They were sawn and sanded. They were hand rubbed and brushed with the perfect lacquer.
An oak tree is inherently strong and beautiful, but the final look was achieved not by slapping a raw branch on the wall. It was crafted by the hand of a finish carpenter. Making custom trim is a fine art, one we see every day and hardly notice.
Did you know that there is a carpenter who’s hand can shape our souls. He can use the gnarliest knotted and twisted trunks to craft masterpieces. His touch slices away the brittle and ugly outer bark. His words restore and heal even the biggest cracks in our inner grain. When we have asked him to make us His project, He uses all the best pieces of us. He deftly joins together the past with it’s mistakes and regrets and the present moment with inner peace and our future with loving possibility.
The seams in the many sections of our lives can be noticed up close. He leaves them, so that others know we are not one perfect individual from start to finish. He allows the joints to remain, so that we can show others that all of our varied parts together can help make one continuous beauty.
There are pieces left on the woodshop floor. There are chunks and remnants and thin curled shavings that he removes for us. Thank God. We can want to hold on to all of our natural wildness sometimes, defending its earthy handsomeness. There are parts that we don’t need. There are extra appendages and growths of baggage that we are better off without.
The master carpenter is willing and absolutely able to sculpt with love, if we will let him…
So I guess that, is what the boring moments at church teach me.
Until next week, Be well my friends.