Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)
- TITLE: Crafted to Bear Light
By Myrna Noyes
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Busy and impatient, the master didn’t see his work as art or beauty, but only as a means to put bread on the table, clothes on his back, and a roof over his head. His products were sturdy, simple, utilitarian; yet with an obvious lack. As he toiled, he used his hands but never his heart, so his furniture was devoid of any reflection of the majesty and glory of the tree that “mothered” it.
One day I heard the shop door open, and his teen-aged son entered. Friction crackled in the air as the father caught sight of this child of disappointment and dishonor. The man expected, nearly demanded, that the boy follow in his footsteps, apprenticing in the woodworker’s trade; but his son preferred to read and study and learn things. Furthermore, he had united with those religious heretics, who followed Peter Waldo, and were called Waldenses. Such a disgrace, as the family had always been staunch supporters of the national church!
“What do you want, Luke?” grumbled his father. “I’m busy putting bread in your mouth while you waste time with books and fools!”
“I need a new candlestick, Father, and I want to know if you have a suitable piece of wood for carving.”
“You may look,” the man said dismissively, as he returned to sanding the desk he was finishing.
Luke gazed around the room, spotted my crowded little corner, and came closer to inspect us. He glanced over my fellows, then picked me up, smiling with satisfaction.
“Good-day, Father. I’ve found a piece that will work. Thank you!”
“Humph!” was the ungracious reply.
In his room at home, the boy took out his knife and began to whittle. He spoke as he worked, “Little block of wood, just as I am crafting you into a receptacle for light, so God is now crafting me into a receptacle for His light. We will both shine for His glory, yes?”
Daily he labored over me, carving, shaping, and sanding, until one day I was completed. He caressed my smooth surface with delight, found a candle to nest in me, and set me on the table.
A few days later, he entered the room, looking both excited and fearful. He stuffed a small package under his mattress, before hurrying out again.
Late that evening he returned, after the rest of the household was bedded, lit my candle, and retrieved the hidden bundle. It contained loose printed pages that he spread out on the table where I stood. His hands shook slightly with anticipation, and he began in a barely audible whisper: “In the beginning was the Word…In Him was life; and the life was the light of men…”
This became our late-night ritual, and I held the candle firmly so the light would be steady to read by. With closed eyes, Luke repeated the words from memory, over and over, until they burned into his heart, never to be erased. Often tears would prick his eyes as he mediated on the passages, and he would alternately weep and rejoice as he prayed to “Our Father in Heaven.”
One night the door burst open, and his father barged in. Grabbing some of the papers, he demanded, “What is this? What are you reading?”
“It is God’s Word, Father,” Luke answered softly, but his eyes betrayed fear.
Enraged, his father swore. “I suspected something like this! Only the priests have the authority and understanding to read and properly expound upon Scripture, not you or your wicked friends! I will not allow you to bring trouble upon us! Either burn these pages and swear never to do this despicable thing again, or prepare to leave my house, never to return!” He strode from the room and slammed the door.
Luke passed the remainder of the night in prayer; but as the first sunglow signaled dawn, he packed some clothing, the precious papers, his knife, and a few coins in his blanket, ready to leave the house and the life he’d always known. At the last moment he snatched me up from the table, stuffing me into the bundle as we stepped out into the light.
Scripture taken from John 1:1,4 (KJV)
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