Yesterday I decided to try my hand at some woodwork. Now, you have to understand, I am not a stranger to this subject and have even build some usable yard furniture (note “usable”). My Dad was a carpenter, trained in the 1940s before the advent of power tools he had a complete set of hand tools which I have inherited. So I decided to use them.
I know how to saw and chisel although the words “straight” and “accurate” might be missing from my woodworking vocabulary. What I started wondering was, early on that first Good Friday morning, was there a carpenter somewhere notching out a cross beam for that day’s executions. Was it a Roman soldier or a Jew, forced into a cruel service. I wondered at the work of it. These were big timbers, did two people cut and chisel with big heavy tools. How much did they think about what they were doing, what these pieces of wood would be used for?
This thinking around the story has been my theme this week. The ordinary work of the crossbeam cutters goes alongside the conviction and then execution of the Son of God. Again, we would do well to consider that most people in Jerusalem either did not know or, if they knew, did not care, about the reality of what was happening to Jesus that day. Life is not a simple dichotomy between being a beam cutter and a follower of Jesus, but we are called to notice, to pause, to wonder and to mourn. This is not about us carefully slotting things all together, God is doing that – we are invited to be a part of that work.