Carving wood

I spent some time with Solomon this morning. Solomon as in the Biblical figure who has so kindly shared his wisdom with the generations to come – including mine. I was practicing Lectio Divina and opened my Bible to the passage below.

The Spirit truly was at work (when isn’t He?), because I could see in this passage a pertinent message for our time. It led me to reflect on the current economic crisis, the diplomatic dilemmas and moral deprivations in the world and how we human being attempt to solve them.

Aren’t we like the woodcutter? We find our little hunk of wood, carve it, paint it, set it on the niche, and expect it to perform miracles. Our hunk of wood can take any of many forms. Perhaps it’s a new job…a new president…a new political sphere…a change in the stock market…a change in the legislature… I think we forget – I know I often forget – that miracles can only be performed by the Almighty Himself.

We can carve all the wood figures we want, but if He doesn’t will it, not a single thing will change.

But miserable, with their hopes set on dead things, are the men who give the name “gods” to the works of men’s hands, gold and silver fashioned with skill and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.

A skilled woodcutter may saw down a tree easy to handle and skillfully strip off all its bark, and then with pleasing workmanship make a useful vessel that serves life’s needs, and burn the castoff pieces of his work to prepare his food, and eat his fill.

But a castoff piece from among them, useful for nothing, a stick crooked and full of knots, he takes and carves with care in his liesure, and shapes it with skill gained in idelness; he forms it like the image of a man, or makes it like some worhtless anumal, giving it a coat of red paint and coloring its surface red and covering every blemish in it with paint; then he makes for it a niche that befits it, and sets it in the wall, an dfastens it there with iron.

So he takes thought for it, that it may not fall, because he knows that it cannot help itself, for it is only and image and has need of help. When he prays about possessions and his marriage and children, he is not ashamed to address a lifeless thing.

For health he appeals to a thing that is weak; for life he prays to a thing that is dead; for aid he entreats a thing that is utterly inexperienced; for a prosperous journey, a hting that cannot take a step; for money-making and work and success with his hands he asks strength of a thing whose hands have no strength. (Wis 13:10-19)

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