This is a door.
This is like two tables, a bench, and two doors.
I’m not being ridiculous. I’m being realistic. Like, really, really, real stuff… Every time I see a stack of lumber and we start talking about that door over there, I can’t help but think that my mom and my aunt would have a cackling fit. The two of them love to pun. They pun with the same carefree abandon as a four year old walking into a glass door. It’s just as funny and you sit back wondering if everyone is ok.
Here’s what I love about what I do at the shop. We make things where things did not exist before. The entire process takes a few days because we always have a few projects running at the same time. Some of them require us to walk away and work on other projects, and so we have several doors and tables in process at any given time.
It starts with the delivery, though. A flatbed arrives with raw lumber. When I say raw, I mean, it’s not even 2×4 or 2×8 or whatever. It’s measured in quarter inches approximately. It’s just come from the mill. It’s twisted, knotty, ugly, and a haven for splinters. You have to accept each board with utter care. I learned during my first delivery that you have to deal more carefully with the unfinished bits than you do the finished lumber.
I looked like I had high fived a porcupine’s butt.
From there, we check the sheet for what we need to complete the job and give them all an approximate cut for length. It then runs through a planing device to make the entire board roughly the same thickness.
That’s the point in time when we begin to remove bits and pieces from our boards.
That’s the point in time when I feel like I see my life in the shaping of these pieces into what they truly are.
The planer cuts everything down to the same level on each side of the wood and you begin to see the unique grain patterns emerge. What was once untouchable and rough on the surface begins to smooth and accept touch to sense how the board is doing and what it will need next.
Next, it goes through the joiner, a machine that has a warning label that says you WILL be maimed if you misuse it. It takes the preferred side and makes a perfect right angle. From there, it goes to the table saw, another machine that maims when abused, and you finally have a uniform board that is useful for building.
By the time all of the pieces have been through the table saw, we have filled at least one, if not two, huge trash bags filled with saw dust and wood chips. While a board is going through the planer, it will find a part of a board that, should it make it into the door, would cause the entire thing to rot, and utterly rips it from the board. You can hear it tinking and careening through the vacuum system all the way to the collection system. The board comes out through the other side with a big hole.
Laid out on the table, we glue each piece together and then clamp them hard to one another for the glue to harden. Once the glue has hardened, that place is going to be the strongest part of our door. When we saw the ends off to make the door square and to the exact measurements requested by the customer, the strip removed will fall to the ground and shatter. If the boards were glued properly, the place you know it will not shatter is at the place where it was joined together by the glue.
We sand it. We sand it some more. We sand it again.
And then we add the sealer followed by the finish.
It gets wrapped and then shipped to the customer. We arrive a few days later to hang it for them.
Is there some sort of Heavenly error in God asking me to participate in worshiping Him?
Did He mean to continue to invite His angels in their perfect harmony day and night around the Throne? Did I accidentally get invited to a gathering of pure glory and ecstasy? Is there a retraction coming soon?
What need does God have of my worship, incomplete, rough, and sometimes unintelligible… what value do I add to the “Holy, Holy, Holy” sung by beings so beautiful and powerful, cloaked in the brilliant glory of God almighty, that their presence always invokes awe and fear in mortals that behold them?
A former student of mine, attending GCU to study worship ministry once answered the question surrounding his choice of major very simply.
If we’re going to spend eternity worshiping God, I want to get as much practice in beforehand as possible. Hayden Bowers
And within his answer there, I find my own.
I am a work in process.
When I first begin to work on a work of worship in my heart, it is rough and difficult to touch without discomfort. If I were to be ridiculous and guard it, instead of allowing the winnowing and refining process of God’s expert hand, it would remain forever unlovely and unfinished. But He carefully strips layers until He reveals hidden grain and ingenious design. He reveals slivers of His image hidden away in me.
He runs me through the joiner of His standards and measurements, not for the sake of judgmental legalism, but so that I may be combined with those around me. I do not make worship by myself, but side by side with other people, all in the process of being shaped toward eternity.
When we are properly shaped and then joined together, the bond we share with one another is the greatest strength we have. The Holy Spirit bonds us together and there we are unbreakable. The craftsmanship of God not only makes us useful for Himself, but makes us beautiful. The pleasure God derives from our worship still in progress is the great pleasure, sweeter than any cool water on a hot day in our hearts. It sates the voracious hunger within us for fellowship with Him.
When I rise to my feet and feel the melody of a praise swell within my heart, I lift my voice and find myself extended toward the greatest and sweetest fellowship that has ever been, and it is only a shadow of the great glory he waits to reveal.
We see now, like in a dimly lit mirror only a hint of the greatness that is one day to come.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Cor: 13:9-12
This is a door.
So is this.
The only difference is time and the hand of the Master.