Calvary Church

4216 West 204th St, Matteson, IL – 708-481-8300
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  • Grain ~ for Emily

    Grain    I asked Emily for a topic to write about for this Calvary Courier edition, seeing that my usual fare leans toward what seems to me to be a little on the negative and/or philosophically corrective side.  Emily said that I should write about wood paneling, being visually prompted by the wood paneling in the classroom that we were sitting at the time.  So Emily, here goes!
       As I look at the wood paneling that currently sits to my left and right (white-painted cinder block occupies the fore and background), I find the grain in the light brown wood laminations to be a continued source of fascination.  The three inch wide vertical boards to my right are the most natural looking, while the wall to the right is finished plywood.  Each of the vertical boards are made of the exact same material, wood, but like fingerprints, no two look the same, which is the source of their beauty.  Some of the boards exhibit vertical grain, and some more horizontal, while others show hyperbolic patterns.  All of this beauty can easily be overlooked, unless you are specifically looking for it.  The longer you peruse, the deeper the beauty that has taken decades to produce becomes.
       If you look at two guitars whose finish allows the grains to be seen, you will find a natural beauty that differs greatly from instrument to instrument.  Glen’s ash base and my spruce-tops enhance the different grains by using diverse source trees and well applied finishes.  No two can ever look the same by nature.
       The grain’s beauty develops as each tree grows under its genetic instructions and environmental conditions.  Wood that is greatly stressed produces beautiful patterns and grains, making it valuable for use in instruments and furniture; the greater the stress, the greater the beauty that grows.
       There are some woods which gain most of their beauty after their source trees are dead.  Certain fungi and other decomposers can actually add streaks of color and patterns to the old logs, which are sometimes taken deeply into the wood by tiny wood boring insects.

    Perhaps the parallels to life in Christ are already obvious:

    • Each of us is a unique Creation of God.  No two of us are the same, and there is beauty in each.  In fact, it is the very diversity that allows us to see the variance in the wonder of how God is remaking us.
    • Each one of us needs to be connected to the others.  When is the last time you saw a house built out of one 2×4?
    • Life without stress doesn’t build strong trees or people.  The most stable, beautiful folks that you know have probably been through a lot of God allowed and/or directed adversity.
    • Sometimes, when everything seems dead, deeper beauty is developing. 
    • A lot has to be cut away for the beauty to be revealed.
    • Most folks won’t bother to stop and see the creation of God in you.

    ~ Selah

       There were once some pieces of wood that became the most beautiful wood ever “produced”, although they are long gone.  Initially, they really had no special value, and were more than likely some pieces of scrap lumber, or leftovers from a torn down building.   With multiple nail scars and colored with the dried blood of its victims, these beams were used by the Romans to terrorize the unruly into submission via their use in crucifixion.  Were these beams still intact, they would be beyond price, representing the value of every person who has ever or will ever exist.  The grain of the wood here had no meaning, only the life-blood shed for our sins upon it, the stains of the grace of God. 
       To this day, and perhaps now more than ever, folks glance over the crosses that we wear and display without ever considering the savagery committed upon the Original.  To connect the Atrocity with these mere representations is no longer in vogue and would sting the sensibilities of many.  To wear a cross that actually reminds one of the completed work, rather than just being a fashion statement, is not in vogue nor politically correct.  The cross means that all have sinned and need to experience the forgiveness offered there and that without it, there is only terminal depravity to long for.  Those beams would testify that theSavior once hung there, and that he was buried and then on the third day, returned to the living, forever victorious over death.  Those beams declare that there is only one way to the Father, to find the real life that starts in this life and extends into eternity.  This has never been the popular understanding. 
       We must seek to grasp that the One who created trees, from Balsa to the mighty Oak, died willing upon his creation to redeem that aspect of his creation solely responsible for all of its bondage to decay.  That aspect is you and me, and all who have ever sinned.  Whenever you see real wood, rather than particle board imitations, remember its wonderful designer, your redeemer, and life fully according to the grain of his grace to us.

    Selah

       Some of the paneling that you can purchase isn’t really wood at all.  It is merely thin sheets of particle board with a thin veneer of paper or colored plastic over it.  It isn’t real, just a pretense of what the reality would seem like.  If you look at it closely, you can see that it is just an image, an artist’s conception of what the reality is.  The fake wood is much cheaper and is produced in factories, without sunlight, soil and time.  It might look good from a distance, but proximity reveals its false nature.  Being real takes time and effort and usually some decent expense, but it is real and has value and a deep, lasting beauty.  The real also holds up much better under the various stresses and adverse conditions that it will encounter.

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