Have you ever watched a sculptor at work … creating a beautiful figure out of a chunk of marble or wood? How do they do that? How do they know what figure will come out of the material they are using?
Although I have not seen sculptors working in marble, I have seen people sculpting wood – with chain saws!
These artisans were chainsaw sculptors who were taking part in an international chainsaw carving competition in Reedsport, Oregon in 2009. This competition was subject of a post entitled “Creative Talents on Display” posted on May 2, 2015.
They created wood carvings of birds and bears, fish and wildlife on both a mammoth and a small-scale, all done with chain saws, some large for the first cuts and others very fine for the detailed work, but chain saws nonetheless.
No matter the size, the concept is the same. Something is inside the wood, and the artist must work to release it.
Michelangelo said that “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” The same great sculptor was asked how he knew when to stop sculpting on a piece and he responded: “Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop.”
This is a picture of one of the sculptors in Reedsport who has placed some rough-hewn details which begin to show the subject of his sculpture.
Here the artist has completed the work and has released the object from its imprisonment! This is one of the finished products at the Reedsport, Oregon competition in 2009 – an eagle swooping down to catch the fish below. Incredible detail, all done with a chain saw!
I readily admit that I have no such talent – if I were to hold a block of wood in my hand, it would stay there until I put it on the wood pile for the next winter fire. But, I certainly can appreciate the effort, talent and creativity that goes into developing one of these pieces.
I believe that God has called each of us to be, in essence, a sculptor of persons through His power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Quoting from the Book of Isaiah, Luke 4:18-19 Jesus said:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Emphasis added)
Jesus told those in the synagogue that day so long ago that He was sent to proclaim freedom to the prisoners … He was not talking about those in jail for their misdeeds but to the broader citizenry who are held captive in sin.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” 1 Corinthians 15: 56.
What does that have to do with blocks of wood? Nothing. But it has everything to do with our involvement with others in our church, family, neighborhood or world.
Think about the young people who come to church for youth group. Perhaps a smile or an arm around a shoulder would encourage some barriers to be dropped so that the story of God’s love through Jesus Christ could make inroads into a young person’s heart, replacing “attitude” with love. Are you in there?
Think about the elderly who have no one to care about them? A warm meal served with a smile, or a coat provided with a hug, might be something that would chip away the callous exterior to reveal the heart that Jesus can touch. Are you in there?
Why do this? Because God said we should, see Matthew 28:19‐20. Praise His Name that He should want me to work on His behalf! What a privilege. What a responsibility. What a joy.
Are you in there?
Father, help me to see others as you see them … through the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to look past the exterior and to see the hurt, the need, the worries, the anxiety, and the fear. Help me to be the hands of our Lord as I seek to minister to others, and help me to point other always, and only, to you my Lord, for the glory of God the Father.