Sunday, November 12, 2017

Walnut in the Woodpile. . .

I am a woodworker. I love the beauty of wood. I love making things from wood. I love the rich glistening, almost iridescent beauty of a finely finished piece of wood. I love the warmth of wood, compared to steel or glass or ceramic. I love looking at the growth rings in a piece of wood. Imagining the years of budding growth, and fruit bearing, and glorious autumnal colors, and then the time or dormancy. I love thinking of all the animals who were blessed by the tree from which the wood came. . . birds nesting and resting. . . squirrels scampering and gathering nuts and acorn. . . building their leafy dens high in the tree tops. Newborn fawns resting in the shade of the tree. . . I love wood. . .

All that being said, Jackie and I have a wood burner, and we burn wood to heat our home. I do recognize that wood serves many purposes, but still when I gather logs to place upon the fire, I look a bit ruefully at the piece and wonder what might have been created from it.

This year it has hit me especially hard. Amongst the oak, and cherry. . . maple and ash, as I helped unload and stack the wood in front of our house, I saw the remains of a walnut tree. To me walnut is the height of beauty of woods. It’s rich dark brown color. . . the silky smoothness to which it can be finished. . . the unique contrast in hues between heartwood, and sapwood, all blend together in my love for walnut.

I have resisted so far, but I am truly tempted to set aside the pieces of walnut, to try and make something of them, but once sawn, and split into such small pieces it is not very feasible for me to do much with them other than to burn them.

Walnut is so expensive. . . . so very very beautiful when finished. The eight boards I have selected for the top of our dining room table cost almost $600. . . to think of cutting them up and using them for the purpose of a brief time of heat, makes me almost cry at the thought. . . . . . . .

My mind is drawn to the parallels between the pieces of walnut laying on my stack of wood to be burned, and the wreckage of lives I encounter in my ministry at the jail. . . . what might have been. . . what might have been crafted a beautiful heirloom piece, handed down through the generations, now only used for a brief time of heat, before being consumed by the fire to ash and cast away.

This precious life. . . this amazingly versatile and capable body we are given. . . this wondrous mind we possess has the potential for such great and eternal beauty, and all too often we burn it instead for a short lived heat.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Psalms 139:14-16
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (15) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (16) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

God formed us from dirt, but with the addition of His breath, we were transformed from the lowly mire of our substance into the wondrous temple of God’s Spirit, and without His spirit, we soon revert back into that from which we were formed. . .

It is beyond me, but I know that God can transform even the shattered and cut, split and broken pieces of walnut in my woodpile into wondrously made heirlooms, for I know what He has done in my life.

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I love you my God. . .
I give you great thanks for what you have done for me. . .