Ponderings for March 29 2019

Greetings, Trinity family and friends. As I hear and watch the building of the new Gathering Space just beyond my office, I am reminded not just of new things but of old ones, too.
 
Relics and places of antiquity tell profound stories. The Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, is the museum that houses the famous statue David. This huge piece of marble has been sculpted into an amazing work of art. David’s physical features—his athletically muscular legs and his humongous hands (even his veins)—are spectacular to take in! This beautiful figure was the product of Michelangelo’s hard work and imagination and craftsmanship. The statue says as much about the vision of the artist as it does of its subject, David.
 
Now, right next to the room with David and all the tourists gazing up at his majesty is another room. Within these walls are many works of sculpture by Michelangelo (and others). These pieces, however, are unfinished. Some are in disrepair and others simply incomplete. None quite ready for the main gallery, but they all tell a story just the same. While we admire the finished and marvelous statue David, these imperfect pieces remind us of the difficult and painstaking process it takes to form the masterpiece.
 
In our study of Romans, we learned that the Lord is using “all things” to conform us to the image of his Son. The Divine Master is sculpting us into the likeness of a person even more awesome than David. Being formed into Christ’s image is our destiny. Oh, my! And yet…not yet. We are still in the other room: incomplete, in disrepair, and, frankly, rather unseemly. That is our present condition. Life happens, and we and our spiritual marble are being painfully chiseled; into what, who can tell?! God can! And he does tell us that despite our present condition we are being made into something more beautiful than we could ever imagine. God’s masterpiece! That is what you are becoming.
 
Not a relic, but a place of antiquity, is the small town in Galilee called Cana. There Jesus did his first miracle at a wedding. There are some ruins of Cana on a nearby hill. An Orthodox and a Catholic church are there as well. In going to Israel, one could easily overlook this town. But this ancient and unassuming place reminds all who come (or even read John’s Gospel) that Jesus actually walked and lived in these quiet, dusty parts and that he delivers on the promise of new life (either in the symbol of new wedding wine or in healing an official’s son by telling him, “Go your way; your son lives”). Whether a distraught father or a panicked new groom, Jesus’ power to turn a losing situation into a wonderful win is a story that never gets old!
 
And nothing fosters hope more than seeing the abstract promises come to life in everyday human experiences! And to see them in the actual places where Jesus and others of biblical history lived is truly life changing. Next February, we will be taking a group to Israel to delve into the history and ancient culture wherein the Scriptures were lived out. I’d love for you to join us on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. To pique your interest, I have included the trip’s website: https://www.morningstartours.com/tcm1056/
 
I have to get up and close my door now. The jackhammer in the soon-to-be Gathering Space is getting quite loud.
 
I’ll see you on the other side. Paul