it is my custom while i'm temporarily filling in as organist/choirmaster at my church to go to the church around 6:00 in the morning to practice. the first thing i do is to sit in one of the pews and spend 30 minutes in prayer and meditation. the other morning, i happened to run my hand along the top of the pew in front of me. it was remarkably smooth, and i began to think about all the life in the piece of beautiful oak that was seemingly inanimate. i know, though, that this wood vibrates with the energy of creation.
as i contemplated the fact that every object is filled with god's creative energy, i thought of the history of this piece of wood. decades, perhaps centuries ago, a small acorn fell to the ground and was nourished by organic matter from decaying plants and animals. in this rich environment a tiny tree sprouted, and with continued nourishment from the soil and the rain, it flourished, finally becoming a huge tree.
at the right time, a forester came along and harvested the tree. perhaps by that time the tree was two or three hundred years old, perhaps it was still healthy, or perhaps it was diseased or damaged by the ravages of a severe storm or by another tree falling against it. whatever its condition, the tree was harvested and taken to a mill where it was sawed into lumber.
that lumber reached a craftsman, maybe in a church furniture factory or maybe in a small workshop, where is was shaped into parts of a pew. other skilled workmen or machine operators finished the raw wood of the pew so that it glowed with a shiny finish that sealed it and enhanced the lovely grain. someone loaded it onto a truck that transported to its present location.
countless worshippers have sat in that pew, looking to the chancel with its communion table and other furniture and to the cross on the wall in the central archway of the chancel. what a miracle this pew is. how many hands have gone into making it ready for its present function. it all began with that tiny acorn and the right soil and moisture conditions that are the gifts of the end of life for countless organisms and the forces set in motion by a benevolent Creator.
i gave a prayer of thanksgiving for all those who had a part in creating something that i had never taken the time to think about until that day. we are surrounded by such miracles, each pulsing with God's creative energy. my prayer today is that we stop to think of, and give thanks for, the miracles of continuing creation in which we are blessed to participate. shalom.