Several years back I was in
I don’t know what made me think of that girl this morning as I was driving to work. I can’t remember her face, or even the city she was from, but I can still feel the slight burn of embarrassment resting on my cheeks. It’s funny the souvenirs we keep, and then the ones that keep us.
But what I remember most about this two story massive sculpture as I was standing on the 2nd floor balcony staring directly across about shoulder level with the mythological blacksmith, is how when I walked across the balcony with only the weight of normal footfall, the giant metal machine-man would sway. At first I thought it was an illusion, but after walking a little heavier back in forth across the suspended balcony I saw the sculpture was indeed moving, directly in response to my steps, and somewhat more than just slightly.
So years later, thanks to a wayward thought of a somewhat snobbish coed, I am thinking of how frail that massive man/machine seemed and how it made me feel somewhat insignificant and uneasy myself. And if there has ever been a better testament to the state of the modern age, a better visual representation of it, well I haven’t seen it.
We have built for ourselves such machines as to move earth by the ton. We have built sky scrapers that seem to do just that. We have technology, and exponentially so, that allows us at anytime access the whole world from anywhere. And yet all these works of our hands cannot stop our world from swaying; cannot save us from the great clock of the earth winding down and the great cloak of the sky wearing thin.
Over and over again in scripture, God warns His creation against trusting the works of their hands. “I alone”, He entreats them, and us, “am worthy of your confidence, your hope.” Continually He reminds them, and us, that what we see, what we feel, and what we treasure here on earth is all food for moths, made for blight and rust and ruin, but the things of the Spirit, are made of such sterner stuffs from the perfect world to come. And yet still we trust in our humanity, our human “spirit”, the works of our hands, and our ability to define our destinies. And all around us, suffering, and bloodshed, and exploitation continue unabated, unaffected by our idols, mute and dumb, the most impressive works of our hands.
One last thing about Vulcan, he was lame, having been cast off
One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is “If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don't feel at home there?” He asks in similar passage, do you find in yourselves desires that this world cannot fulfill? In essence he asking, do you feel like a stranger here? Are you like Vulcan, a man-machine, forging out your existence through self-reliance on such shaky ground or are you man-spirit, trusting in the One who made you, to deliver you, un-lame, without spot or blemish, into the firm bright bosom of Heaven, and the tender arms of Abba.
I am a stranger here myself, and I am still longing for home.