The Great, Beautiful, and Intimate Craftsman

Craftsman (noun):

1. a worker who practices a trade or handicraft

2. one who creates or performs with skill or dexterity especially in the manual arts

Craft (noun):

1. skill in planning, making, or executing

2. an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill

- Merriam Webster Dictionary

I am in awe of craft, especially craft of the artistic expression. I am, in fact, obsessed with it... in a good way. The tangible and tactile process of cultivating an idea that springs up, forming it, building it, binding it, shaping it, breaking it, erasing, shifting, reshaping, and finally, the emotional ecstasy of beholding. I am in awe...

... because what is crafted becomes a personal thing; it's more than just ethereal art.

It's a tangibly touched and intimate thing.

Don't dare disparage the craftsman's craftsmanship, for in the day you do, you disparage the craftsman himself. The craftsman's craftsmanship is a piece of his heart.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Beautiful.

I've read that the breath of life in the original language of scripture here could be likened to mouth-to-mouth. I don't apologize if that makes someone reading this feel weird. I think it's beautiful. I liken it to the sense of resuscitation.

Beauty is all around and it makes me faint. I behold the beauty of life around me and I absolutely cannot contain what I'm taking in. It's breathtaking. Quite literally, to me, it's like breathing mouth-to-mouth with all of creation and even more the One who made it. I can feel it enter and exit. Every glimpse I get is as though I'm being filled with the breath of life. And let's be honest, in God's own words, mankind is the only creation that bears His image.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26-28

Mankind, male and female, have the fingerprints and DNA of God all over them...

Even in them... once mankind comes to know Him.

Talk about beautiful. Talk about intimidating.

I remember watching a documentary a few years ago called Beauty is Embarrassing. The documentary is about an artist named Wayne White who is famous for painting beautiful landscapes with eccentric phrases over the canvas. The documentary got it's title from one of Wayne's paintings in which he painted over a beautiful mountain landscape the phrase "Beauty is Embarrassing." That phrase has lingered in my spirit ever since.

Beauty has truly been embarrassing to me most of my life. I've always found myself small next to the beauty of a mountain; smaller still next to the beauty of my wife. Perhaps the reason I am embarrassed by beauty is because I am growing ears to hear, learning a language to describe, and forming eyes to behold the beauty of Jesus.

It's an impossible thing, to see God as He is. It's an embarrassing thing, to behold His beauty; my beholding is more like glimpsing. The longer I behold in a mirror dimly, the more naked I feel, yet His beauty draws me in still (1 Corinthians 13:12). Like an inescapable force, He's been drawing me in my whole life. The closer I get, the more purifying and refining of my body and soul, until that awesome, terrifying, and beautiful day, when I behold Him face-to-face.

Until then I'll embrace the embarrassment, the embarrassment of my weak and meek beholding of the beauty of Jesus. As I behold, I become. He continues to intimately craft me so that I may even more uniquely reflect Him as He made me to be and it's only from that place, that place of beholding, that I can truly live. There is no other way, there is no other truth, there is no other life (John 14:6).

It's all about worship. It's all about relationship with my Great, Beautiful, and Intimate Craftsman.

Stephen Ibach — stephenibach.blog
Media Director of Ember