9: Shop Rules

22 12 2012

No Blood on or in the Machinery. 

No Blood on the Tools or on the Woodwork. 

No Blood on the Tables, the Benches, or the Floor.


That was my father’s way of saying, “Be careful.  Observe all the safety protocols.”

He asked me, “What does the Bible say about blood?”

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins,” I answered, as though I were reciting the catechism at school.

“And why is blood so important?”

“The life is in the blood,” I recited.

“And what does that mean?”

I thought about it.  That one, I couldn’t answer.

“You probably haven’t gotten that far in school yet,” my father said.  “Listen.  You know that you breathe, right?”

“Right.”  I didn’t think much about it since breathing is automatic, but of course I knew I did it.

“Air goes into your lungs.  Your heart pumps blood to your lungs to pick up air.  Oxygen, to be more specific.  Your heart then pumps the air-loaded blood to all the other parts of your body.  All those parts, down to the smallest cells, need air.  That’s why you need air.  Right?”


“What does the Bible say about the creation of man?”

“It says that God made Adam from the dust of the ground, and then He breathed life into him.”

“Right.  Man’s body is made from the elements of the earth.  Man’s spirit is made from the Breath of Heaven.  From the Divine Wind, as the Japanese might say.  The old English said the Holy Ghost.  The writers of the Bible, whether using Hebrew or Greek, used words made like plywood for the Spirit.  The words had many meanings glued together to try to make the concept work well in human language: air, wind, breath, even ghost.”

I wondered whether they might have thought of fog.  I was getting confused.

My father asked, “What did Jesus say about God?  How did He describe Him in short?”

“Jesus said God is Spirit.”

“And has anyone seen God?”

“No one has seen God at any time.  No one can see God and live,” I recited.

“Right.  No one except…”

I had to think for a moment.  “Oh.  Well, no one except Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and the Son of God.”

“Right.  As He said; as it is written.  And Jesus also said, ‘He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’.”  My father looked me in the eye.  “Have you seen Jesus?”

Again, I paused.  I didn’t quite know how to answer that, so I decided to be strictly honest.  “No.”

“Neither have I,” my father said.  “That’s why Jesus said, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.  But ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.’ 

“There is that within us,” my father said, “that makes us living souls.  It comes not from within ourselves.  It comes from without.  It comes not from within the earth.  It comes from heaven.  As Elihu told Job, if God were to ‘gather unto Himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.’  That spirit, that breath is, as the French might say, élan vitale: a vital, enthusing vigor.  Quickening is the old English word you’ve seen in the Scripture: an enlivening.  It’s something God breathes into us to make us alive.  It’s Something we breath in from God in order to live.”

“That’s the life that’s in the blood?” I asked.

“Yes, in a manner of speaking. The air carried in the blood is a symbol of the spirit given us.  It is that spirit that makes us among all creatures special: the image of God.  It is that Holy Spirit of God, spilling in the blood from the Son of God onto the woodwork of the cross, that kills sin and re-creates us to be what we were meant to be.  ‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’.”

woodcraft 8




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