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Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Saw The Angel


Marcia Lee Laycock is the winner of the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. Her weekly devotional column, The Spur, goes out to thousands of readers worldwide.




In speaking of his art, Michelangelo is purported to have said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

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“Don’t you dare bring that thing into the house!” That's what my mother used to say. I can hear her voice as this memory races through my mind. I was a scavenger as a child. I’d collect bits of crayfish –“but look how orange its belly is, Mom!” – pieces of driftwood – “can’t you see? It’s a bird!” and even colourful stones – “I wonder how it got to be so blue?” I dragged a lot of things into our house.

But my brother was the worst. He collected wood of all shapes and sizes. When he couldn’t sneak them into the house, he’d stack them under the porch. Sometimes he’d point out what he was seeing in them, to my parents or to me. It was when he was given a carving knife one day that we began to understand.

With a skill that amazed us, Terry fashioned animals, birds, and people out of those bits of wood. He wasn’t Michelangelo, but he made beautiful things out of what had been discarded. Even my mother started collecting driftwood.

We in a sense are to do the same with words. They are the knives that can cut away at ordinary, mundane things and make them into works of beauty and significance. All the great writers have done it – it’s the words of Les Miserables that carve out the story of forgiveness and redemption from a common tale of theft, the words of the Lord of the Rings that carve out the meaning of friendship and faith from a flight of fantasy. It’s the words in T.S. Eliot’s poetry that carve out images of truth and grace from the analogs of human existence. These and many more have seen
the angel in the stone and worked until it was released.

What angels have you seen lately?

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17