Today when I came home to let Pete, my thirteen year old lab, out for an afternoon break, I admired the work of Brett my carpenter/contractor who was installing a few windows before the northwest winds blow in that chilly air of late fall. My shop class back in Falls City, Nebraska never taught me much and I suppose I did not want to learn much either about carpentry. My attempt at a cutting board eventually ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. I think my mother kept it for some time to ease my disappointment at my work. Brett is a craftsman – a real talent at making things look great. I wished for a few moments that I had that talent. Jesus did. I often wonder what he made. A house, a table, a cutting board for his mother?
His humanity seems a mystery to us after the centuries have passed into millennia. He was real – a man – just like us but sinless as we confess in our creeds and it seems from all the reports he was. My craft is a calling and my hammer and nails appear as fonts and paragraphs that try to convey the power of love and forgiveness that the carpenter from Nazareth told us about and then showed us every day of his life.
The Gospel of Mark, the earliest of the Gospels reports that people had a hard time understanding how this uneducated carpenter could teach the way he did – or heal – or turn a the religious world on its nose. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas (different Judas) and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Mark 6:3 He didn’t come as a king or conquerer – he made things. He spoke into existence the universe but humbled himself and came to love on us and show us a new way of non-violent way of living. The world still needs to know this carpenter turned Rabbi.
So I offer up my feeble cutting board and simple words and hope that you too can know that kind of love too.