A Lesson In Glassblowing

June 2nd, 2017  |   

A couple of weeks ago, daughter Debby and I took to the road and went to the Shenandoah Valley. We were there to do some studying, while sightseeing. In Staunton, Virginia, we visited the Sunspot Studio and watched a glassblower. Back and forth to the blazing kiln, he blew, caressed, pounded, fired, and shaped a piece of glass. The finished product was a lovely glass mushroom, a popular item for sale in the adjacent shop,

I asked the glassblower what he enjoyed making the most. Mushrooms? Not really. I was delighted by his answer. He said that he loved to create something new, because it caused him to get back in touch with the reason he had become a glassblower.

Creating something new reignited the passion that was at the heart of his artwork.

I have been thinking about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three men whose story is depicted in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the book of Daniel we read about how Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, threw them into a fiery furnace because they would not bow down and worship the golden image he had created.

The flames, however, did not consume them. The furnace, if you will, became a refiner’s fire, not a crematorium. The furnace became a kiln. Hardened, rather than destroyed, the men walked free from the flames.

Historians view Nebuchadnezzar as having been insane. There is good circumstantial evidence that President Trump is mentally ill. He is our very own Nebuchadnezzar, putting us, and the world we live in, through a fiery ordeal. Could there be any more outward and visible sign of this than his denial of global warming?

With that story in mind, I see life moving about in the midst of this holocaust. There are numerous signs, not only resistance, but creative efforts to thwart, circumvent, override, and defeat Nebuchadnezzar, who can be seen more and more as a tragic, lonely, isolated, disturbed man in a sheltered tower. There is a creative spirit making itself know among individuals and community efforts, despite his presence.

The play that Debby and I saw in Staunton was Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” It is a marvelous testimony to the indomitable power of human beings. Yes, often ignorant of what’s going on around us, blind to the indestructible eternal realities that are readily present, and yet we are still capable of loving mercy and prizing justice, and putting it to work.

Wilder’s words are better than mine: “We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”

Entry Filed under: Fig Tree Notes Archives

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Nations will hammer swords into plows, their spears into sickles, there shall be no more training for war. Each person will sit under his or her fig tree in peace.
Micah 4:3 - 4