Etched in Wood (Mundane Meditations)

mundane meditationsI decided recently that I needed some fresh air, the kind you breathe in right off the leaves of the trees while ambling through the forest. As I wandered aimlessly along the path, I came at length to a clearing where I could see the brilliance of the deep blue, cloudless sky. I noticed to my left an old, yet apparently stable, wooden lookout erected about ten feet above the ground and overlooking a valley, allowing one to see for miles.

I climbed the steps to the wooden bench situated in the middle of the wooden porch and exercised a great leap of faith in promptly sitting down without inspecting its integrity. Fortunately, it held, and I sat in prayer for a while before writing in my journal and, finally, reading a book.

It was surely more than an hour later that I directed my gaze beyond my book to the wooden railings that, at least in theory, were in place to keep one from falling off the porch and down the steep ravine. What I saw was a seemingly infinite series of letters etched into the wooden beams. I presume that these letters were initials of those who had visited this place and left their mark for posterity—or random amblers like me.

As I typically do, I began an internal monologue about the irresponsible, property damaging miscreants that desecrate public spaces in a vain attempt at notoriety. But before I had progressed far in my monologue, I had another thought: was I any better than such as these? Was it not merely the case that my sin was etched on my heart rather than the wood? I silently thanked God that my sin, although visible to God, has been washed clean by the blood of Christ, blood which, ironically, flowed from wounds that were made by three marks etched in wood.

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