Golden and Noble Works

“A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works."
Martin Luther

Saturday, June 29, 2013

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Emily O. writes:

Life is funny. That phrase, of course, can mean all sorts of things. Life is humorous, life is weirdly insightful, life is downright strange. Sometimes it's all of the above. And pastors' wives often see all of the above in our interactions with church family. 

Take tonight. My dear husband had a wedding rehearsal in which many, many small children were present. Near the end, he noticed that one very tired, very upset little girl was playing in the chancel. Several adults sat a few feet away, watching her but doing nothing to stop her antics. Suddenly, she leaned on the crucifix which stood on its base, and the whole thing started to tip. Feeling like the event was happening in slow motion, the entire group watched Jesus topple forward, the cross crash, and the corpse smash into pieces all over the sanctuary floor. 

A little history: for years, our sanctuary's old processional cross was a source of some embarrassment. The brass was chipped and bent, and it honestly looked like
it had been run over by a truck. That poor cross was so ill-aged (or used, or both) that my husband began asking other local congregations for their processional crosses for funerals and other special services. Finally, a generous gift made possible a beautiful processional crucifix, constructed of solid wood and an exquisite hand-carved corpse from Oberammergau, Germany. This was the cross that cracked.

Such moments are horrific and embarrassing. In this case, once the pieces were reassembled, the cross looked like it could be salvaged. The father of the bride is an amazing model-maker, and he offered to put the pieces back together. A local pastor who does woodworking can redo the finish. My husband talked to the mom of the little girl (who was hysterical) and made sure she wasn't hurt (just scared). And I, once I got over the shock and practical concerns, couldn't help but think how funny the whole situation was. Don't get me wrong; I never want fine craftsmanship that's been done to the glory of God and that serves to remind Christians in the pews of Christ's atoning sacrifice to be broken. But aren't we all like little toddlers, tired and worn out and heedless, careening into sacred symbols and wreaking destruction? The real scars we left on Christ's hands marked Him far worse than the damage left on our processional cross tonight. One was a shame, but the other was unthinkable--God dying for us children. 

Truly, you can't make this stuff up--the careening cross or the for-real Savior. And thank goodness for that.