Monday, August 31, 2020
“God has filled them with the skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver – by any sort of workman or skilled designer.” - Exodus 35:35
As I have been writing these meditations over the past months in tandem with the lectionary readings each Sunday, I have been reminded numerous times about how much faith God has in our ability to do great things. Time and time again, I hear words of the psalmists, of the biblical authors, and especially of Jesus who articulate time-and-again how capable we are of being instruments of peace, compassion, and profound change.
The words today from Exodus remind us how that capability is imbued with a skill akin to doing fine, detailed work. This is not the work of a blunt instrument like a jackhammer, but rather of fine engraving or embroidery. I have always been in awe of those who can work at such levels of detail in any craft. When we traveled to Italy and I witnessed the detail and care taken in creating works of art and architecture hundreds of years ago with the simplest of tools, I was reminded in new ways of the skill and the patience we are capable of.
It is all the more heartbreaking, then, to witness the sea swell of change happening around us being bludgeoned by the jackhammers of our misunderstanding and impatience. As I watch non-violent protests turn into scenarios of gunfire and violence, destruction of property, and destruction of dignity, one wonders if the words from Exodus have long been forgotten. Redesigning the world is not an act of demolition, it is a craft calling upon the fine skills and patience that God has filled us with: listening, learning, talking, compromising, loving, forgiving, and ultimately creating something new and something better.
As I wake this morning to more news from Portland, shootings in St. Louis, Los Angeles, and nearby in Tallahassee, I yearn for us to embrace our finer skills and stop bludgeoning one another with our hatred.
Holy God, remind us of the fine skills you have given us and grant us the wisdom to use them.