Jesus was the son of a carpenter and thus learned how to work with wood and fix things with his hands. I tend to believe learning how to be a carpenter formed Jesus into the patient, understanding, and future oriented person he was. So today we look closer at the spiritual practice of woodworking.
There is something magical about taking a piece of wood and forming it into a beautiful structure. This act of creating is an experience. It provides intrinsic meaning beyond just the physical morphing of material but one that resides in the soul. Woodworking allows are hands and body to act while creating something spiritual in nature that represents part of who we are. Just seeing the grains and lay of the wood, deciding the cut, and envisioning how it can become more vibrant with the various stains or oils connects us. We are able to be present in the moment letting go of any conflicts, desires, challenges, etc. that are at play in our life. This spiritual practice in essence centers us while we physically work to create something inspiring, useful, or meaningful.
Let's look further at the lessons we learn from the spiritual practice.
5 Life Lessons From Woodworking
1. Understand the Grain of the Wood - When you are woodworking it is necessary to know the grain of the wood. Sometimes we have to go with the grain and work with it to form what we need. Other times we have to cut across it to get our desired result. This translates to us to always assess our situations to determine what is best for the results we want. Many times with our faith that will be going against the grain of society and sticking to our morals and principles.
2. Envision what could be - It takes a vision to really see what something could be. Amazing pieces can be created with just a little envisioning. We are the same way. We need to envision what a spiritual relationship could be and work toward it. The mere act of seeing and believing propels us to who we want to be.
3. Imperfections are learning opportunities - When working with wood flaws will ultimately happen. But most of the time those flaws do not deflect the natural beauty and usefulness of the product. Those imperfections teach us the best ways to work with them and what positives qualities they bring in the material. This principle is also true in us. We all have our own imperfections but those do not take away from our natural beauty and worth.
4. Take your time - Woodworking is a process! It takes time and patience is required. Cutting, planing, joining, and finishing all are pieces that take time to create the product we want. This tells us to not be in a hurry but be patient with our life. Enjoy the moments we have and take the time necessary to create who you want to be.
5. Finish what you started - Choosing the type of finish for your wood is important. We must look at the colors and select the best oil or stain. Finishing the wood makes it pop with color, showing all the amazing qualities of the grain and the quality of the work. This lesson applies to us as well. When we finish the challenges or things put before us we also pop with the color of pride and satisfaction. The act empowers us to be the best person we can and moves us forward to our next task.
Woodworking can be a great skill and activity to enjoy. But in the right mindset can also be a very freeing spiritual practice to partake in. Using these lessons above and others when we work with wood can help us connect with the divine in our life. I encourage you to learn, utilize and practice this skill.
Thank you for all those who join with the Community of Christ as a piece of the greater Christian community striving to do good in this world and bring worth to people.
This week find a piece of furniture or object created out of wood. Feel it, envision what it was before it was formed, think about the imprint the creator put on it, and thank the universe for its creation. Now do the same for yourself!
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
The mission of the Seventy
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” Luke 10:1-3 NRSV
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting.
They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation.
They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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