Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Writing with Meaning {The Art of Carving}

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”  John 21:25

The above verse is the conclusion to the gospels.  These words have always made me step back and ponder a little.  There’s so much more story to this Jesus than we have on paper.  The world itself can’t contain all that He is and all that He has done.  What a beautiful verse.

I’ve thought about how God often instructs people to write things down. He tells Isaiah…write this down.  He tells John the Revelator…write this down.  He bubbles up through Moses and David and Paul as they write down words that simply must be told. There is a grace-threaded story and God had mere man as a collective inspired whole tell it on the pages of scripture.

Words matter.

You and I aren’t writing words that will ever go into a Holy book, but it doesn’t negate the significance of them.  Our words can point to the never ending story of a God who manifests Himself to a blind world.  Our words can point to His anvil that has pierced the sin and allowed the cracks of Holy Light to radiate forth.

There is no measuring what Jesus did for us on the cross that day.  There aren’t enough books to hold the magnitude of such a mysterious sacrifice.  It’s so simple that even a child can be redeemed and yet so heady that even the most intelligent of scholars still disagree on the complete dynamics of such an act.  There aren’t enough words…

But, God still asked certain men to be a part of the telling of the story.  He breathed through each one, allowing only truth to radiate onto wood and parchment until the story was complete.

It’s such an amazing word when dissected to its core.  Written.  “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

Written.  It’s “grapho” in Greek and means to grave or write.  “The ancient Greeks equated grapho with xeo, to carve.  They carved figures with meaning on wooden tablets and later replaced these when letters were developed.  The engraved tablet was covered with another, and being tied together and sealed, constituted the form of an ancient letter.  The Septuagint several times applies the word in this sense of engraving, carving, or cutting out.” Lexical Aids to the New Testament

I can’t help but think of God taking tablets of stone and engraving his law deep, carving out His holy standard. “The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.”  (Exodus 32:16)  Is it any coincidence that these God-words were carved on stone and that Jesus is called our stone as seen in this verse?
“I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem.
    Everything will be built on this important and precious rock.
Anyone who trusts in him
    will never be disappointed.” Isaiah 28:16

God carved the law onto stone, knowing only the Stone would be able to fulfill the law for all who trust Him. The Son-Stone was one day placed on the cross, and once again was pierced and cut into as mere nails held him in place. 

You are engraved- carved- written on this beautiful and Holy God.  Your story matters.

Before parchment and paper, words meant to last were always cut in with some sort of incision.  The Word was cut in with nail pierced incisions.

If our words are to make a difference today, then how should writers go about the craft?  Sometimes, I throw my hands up in anguish and tell Him that I don’t have enough words to describe Him.  When I try to get Him on paper, I wonder if I’m like a child that’s been locked inside a closet her whole life and yet she is asked to describe the sky.  He is so much more.  There aren’t enough words to contain Him.

But, if I can offer a piece of my story, then others might get a glimpse of who this beautiful God is.  If I can make an incision into my own heart and let all of the joys and sorrows intermingle out into one grace swirled and bloody mess, then just maybe readers will get a taste of this Good-Good Father who loves deeply.

If we are going to write well, then we must cut into ourselves and bleed out.

The stories that carry the greatest impact are the ones that are carved deeply and bleed forth the beauty that only results when suffering collides head on with grace, birthing joy along the way.

1 comment:

Samantha Barnes said...

Yes. Love this. Thanks for the reminder that our words carry significance, no matter the form or outlet!

Love this insight - "God carved the law onto stone, knowing only the Stone would be able to fulfill the law for all who trust Him. "

And this is so true - "If we are going to write well, then we must cut into ourselves and bleed out." It's through writing that I open up my wounds and vulnerable places and often re-live them, in hopes of making God the hero of the story to those reading. Someone once wrote that the hard thing about being a writer is that you have to live things out, then re-live them as you write about them. I think it was Shauna Niequist but I can't find the quote.