Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Subduing the earth

At our house we've been working on the biggest project in family history. We're remodelling the bathroom, and since I'm a poor preacher (or so they tell me), it is necesssary that I learn to do as much of it as I can by myself. So in my spare time I've been a carpenter: tearing walls and floors apart, removing old tiles, old shower, old sink, etc.; building new structures here and there, putting up insulation, drywall, and cement board. We have a contracter working with me, but I've been doing things alongside of him every step of the way to reduce his hours of labor. We're finally to the point where most of the new light fixtures are in, new electrical, some new plumbing, new shower, new tub, new sink, and now stone tiles for the countertop and floor are going in. Soon we'll be finished.

Every night I go to bed sore, and wake up stiff. What a way to get in shape.

As I was mixing mortar today, I got to musing on the fact that this is what man does: he fills the earth and subdues it. He makes things do what he wants them to do. He puts them in order, by the sweat of his brow, even as Christ did in our redemption.

Jesus was a carpenter. That isn't just an interesting point of trivia. It means he was raised by Joseph in the trade of subduing the earth. This was a token of the redemption he would work.

Some say that the most godly places on earth are serene natural settings: sunsets, glaciers, canyons, mountains, etc. I think not. Raw nature can be beautiful, to be sure, but it generally needs to be tamed. It needs man. The most godly place on earth, therefore, has to be a place which man has crafted from the raw materials of earth. The most godly place on earth is a temple.

Destroy this temple, said Jesus, and in three days I will raise it.

The resurrected Christ has subdued the earth. It's something to appreciate when you're in the midst of a remodelling project.

6 comments:

Lawrence said...

and since I'm a poor preacher (or so they tell me),

Poor as in you preach lousy, or poor as in money?
;)

Father Eckardt said...

How clever you are . . .

Lawrence said...

Not clever, just bored.

I am hoping you might appreciate the subtle humor, no offense intended.

Lawrence said...

I don't mean bored by your post, I mean... well, you know...

M.L. Anderson said...

I am impressed (and envious) of the under-shepherds who can speak of a certain facility with hand tools. It seems altogether appropriate and fitting, given the Lord's presumed confident handling of awl and square.

So Father Eckardt bores some posts.

Our Lord also expressed His Father's hospitality and graciousness, to the extent of sharing the table with tax-collectors and great "sinners."

So Father Eckardt, appropriately and fittingly, posts some bores.

Of whom I lay claim to being chief, since I am quite unwilling to argue with St. Paul (i.e., Scripture) over other such labels.

Still, it is ironic that he's the one who sermonically lulled a lad to sleep, and out of a window, at Troas. And while I've never enabled or cheered a physical stoning of a saint ... to my knowledge, anyway ... I am certainly left to ponder the number of saints I may have knowingly or unknowingly savagely cut by words and behaviors. No irony there, and I have to pray thanks be to God for Christ Jesus, the subduer of the devil, the flesh, and yes ... the world.

Father Eckardt said...

By the way, the bathroom's almost done, and by now I am really a poor preacher. But within days, we will really have a nice bathroom.