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Praise through the mundane 10 November 2005

Posted by Dr Moose in Uncategorized.
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See-through faith has a good daily thought that begins with the question, “What do a metal worker, someone who sets gems, someone who is skillful with a needle, and someone who builds well have in common?”

It’s good stuff – go read it.

But it also reminded me of one of my favourite passages that may, or may not, be scripture, depending on your point of view. If I’ve blogged this before you will recognise it, I suspect. It comes from the book of Ecclesiasticus, part of the Apocrypha. It is accepted as canon by the Roman Catholic Church, referred to as useful for instruction but not the setting of doctrine by the Church of England, and avoided by much of Protestantism.

Nevertheless I love this part. Ecclesiasticus 37:25-34… and I trust that the publishers of the Revised English Bible will forgive my quoting it here verbatim (typing errors excepted!):

How can one become wise who follows the plough,
whose pride is in wielding the goad,
who is absorbed in the task of driving oxen,
whose talk is all about cattle?
He concentrates on ploughing his furrows,
and toils late to give the heifers their fodder.
So it is with every craftsman and designer
working both day and night.
Such are those who make engravings on signets
and patiently vary the design;
they concentrate on making an exact likeness
and stay up to all hours to finish their task.
So it is with the smith, sitting by his anvil,
intent on his ironwork.
The fiery vapours shrivel his flesh
as he wrestles in the heat of the furnace;
the hammer rings in his ears again and again,
and his eyes are on the pattern he is copying.
He concentrates on completing the task
and stays up late to give it a perfect finish.
So it is with the potter, sitting at his work,
turning the whel with his feet,
always engroosed in the task
of making up his tally of vessels;
he moulds the clay with his arm,
crouching forward to exert his strength.
He concentrates on finishing the glazing,
and stays up to clean the furnace.

All these rely on their hands,
and each is skiful at his own craft.
Without them a city would have no inhabitants;
no settlers or travellers would come to it.
Yet they are not in demand at public discussions,
not do they attain high office in the assembly.
They do not sit on the judge’s bench
or understand the decisions of the courts.
They cannot expond moral or legal principles
and are not ready with maxims.
But they maintain the fabric of this world,
and the practice of their craft is their prayer.

I just find that such a reminder, at all times, of the dangers of intellectual superioity to which many of us are prone, not to mentionthe issue that prayers are not necessarily made of words- the practice of their craft is their prayer.

It’s not really so far from the beatitudes, is it? Blessed are the meek…

(As an entirely separate issue, does anyone know of an electronic version of the REB? The nearest I’ve found is an American Bible Study package add-on, and it only runs on Apple Mac!)

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Comments»

1. Lorna - 10 November 2005

hi
not sure if this is what you are looking for

http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefaith/bible/2machabees.cfm
the link it to 2machabees,but you shoudl be able to access the rest from there. Not sure what version it is, and just off to Swedish class now so no time to check.

I liked the last part of the quote a lot

All these rely on their hands,
and each is skiful at his own craft.
Without them a city would have no inhabitants;
no settlers or travellers would come to it.
Yet they are not in demand at public discussions,
not do they attain high office in the assembly.
They do not sit on the judge’s bench
or understand the decisions of the courts.
They cannot expond moral or legal principles
and are not ready with maxims.
But they maintain the fabric of this world,
and the practice of their craft is their prayer.

🙂
As a methodist I use NIV in the main, where the apogrypha are not. But it is useful to look at those books from time to time. Someday I’ll have a Bible with them in, but not yet.

blessings 🙂

PS the starting quote in my post wasn’t my own. I got it from upper room as per the link. It IS very good though and added to the train of thought I’ve been having for weeks. God is good like that:)


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