Friday, January 18, 2008

Allen's Brain waxes nostalgic, only to scuff it up again.

I was poring over my archives, and came across this fragment of a devotional I gave when I was in grad school. The Scripture text was Philippians 1:6, ". . .being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I don’t know about you, but I really get impatient with the process of perfection. From my own perspective, I see where I am now, but I can only very vaguely see where I ought to be ultimately. It seems like there is an eternity between those two points. I can identify well with the clay vessel pictured in Isaiah 29 and 45, and then again by Paul in Romans 9, where the question is asked, “Can the clay say to the potter, ‘Why are you making me this way?’” Perhaps, though, I would ask the question this way: “Why are you taking so long?” I get impatient with this process of perfection. Do you?

I feel sometimes like a huge block of marble, with the Great Sculptor Himself chipping away at me, getting rid of what does not belong to the final work of art.

Me: (to God) So, what are you doing?

God: I’m making you into a great masterpiece. (Chip, chip, chip . . . )

Me: Great masterpiece, huh? I like the sound of that! So . . . What am I gonna’ be?

God: A saint. (Chip, chip, chip . . . )

Me: A saint?! Come on, God! Why a saint? No one likes saints. They just stand there with that sort of vacant look in their eyes. No one comes to museums to look at saints! They don’t put pictures of saints on postcards! How about making me into a Greek or Roman god: Zeus, or Adonis, or Hercules?

God: No. I’m making a saint. (Chip, chip, chip . . . )

Me: But I don’t want to be a saint! Hey, I notice you haven’t done much work on my shoulders and back. How about putting some wings back there? You could make me an angel! I mean, angels are religious–and I know how much you seem to like religious art. Not only that, but angels are very popular these days. So how about it, God? Why don’t you make me an angel?

God: Allen, you’re no angel! (Chip, chip, chip . . . )

Me: Well, okay, but I kinda’ like the idea of having wings. How about making me into a gargoyle? That would be great! You wouldn’t have to change my looks much. I could sit on top of a church and glare at people all day! Come on God! Make me a gargoyle!

God: I’m not making a gargoyle. I’m making a saint. (Chip, chip, chip . . . )

Me: So a saint it is, huh?

God: Yes. (Chip, chip, chip . . . )

Me: Well, could you hurry up? It seems like you’re taking forever!

God: Great works of art take time.


The Ironic Catholic said...

Great conversation, true to boot.

Allen said...

Yeah, especially the gargoyle part. I once spent the better part of one week on the roof of a church building, believing that to be my calling. I even spouted water when it rained!