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Nov Newsletter Article from Rev. Shea
And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
On Saturday, there were six roughly equal size sections of butcher block sitting on the table in my workshop, awaiting their final assembly into the island for my wife's bakery. Yesterday, I glued two of the pieces up and clamped them together. This morning when I removed the clamps, about half of the seam immediately separated.
I know It's possible to fix this problem, and chances are good I have the tools to do it. But as I was attempting to diagnose the issue this morning, it struck me how much of woodworking is fixing things I used to not even know needed fixing.
When I first started building things with two by fours and plywood, I thought of the process as simple: You cut pieces of wood to certain dimensions, assemble them into the desired shape, sand the whole thing smooth, and maybe paint or stain it. Nobody was impressed with the things I built back then, but they did their job just fine.
Now I make things I'm proud to show off, and people like enough that sometimes they want to pay me to make them one. The difference is not that I've gotten any better at cutting and assembling pieces of wood. That part's pretty much the same as it ever was. I think the main difference is that after the pieces are put together, I go over the whole project and identify all the minor flaws and errors, and correct them. I fill in tiny voids and cracks. I go over the whole thing with a straightedge and a level and eliminate any high spots or dips. I sand, and sand, and sand some more until the whole project is smooth to the touch, then spend several days oiling and varnishing.
(Reading that last paragraph back to myself, it's no wonder my daughter's first bed took me two hours to build and her second took closer to eighty.)
To me, being a Christian is a lot like being a woodworker, and not just because in both cases you familiarize yourself with the words of famous carpenters. It's very easy to grasp the basics - so easy, in fact, that we teach them to very young children, who expect to understand and adhere to them. But the more we practice, the more detailed and nuanced our understanding becomes. And with that comes the ability to make corrections we didn't even know were necessary before, becoming ever more loving and insightful as we grow.