Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sometimes great. . . always sturdy and solid

My wife and I enjoy visiting flea markets and antique malls (often it is hard to distinguish which is which).  We stroll down the aisles like a walk down memory lane, looking at things of our childhood now either considered junk or quaint antiques.  But the remarkable thing is how often we encounter good, solid wood, well crafted furniture that goes for a song.  They style does not fit the modern look we are going for and it is certainly not trendy.  But it is sturdy, solid, and good furniture.

We often joke that we could furnish someone's home or apartment for a grand and they would end up with solid wood, sturdy, and good furniture -- even if it did not quite look like it came from the latest furniture sale circular offering the appearance of wood, sturdy for now, and honestly rather fragile furniture, no money down and interest free financing so you can pay for it in installments, only to find it needs to be replaced about the same time it is really yours!

Even the "junk" furniture from olden times is not junky so much as it is well worn and well used.  Even then, it is prized now less for its shininess than for its patina (a nice term for the wrinkles that adorn our aged faces).  But I am not talking about stuff that looks like it was used over and over again, I am talking about the well crafted furniture when people did the work instead of machines and they used real wood.  In my neck of the woods that means mahogany or cherry or walnut or maple furniture with labels like Tell City in the drawers. 

When you think of hand-crafted furniture, you think of sturdy and solid stuff.  Occasionally, it is the great stuff that hits Antiques Roadshow and surprises us all with its pricey value. Mostly it is simply good, solid, sturdy, and well built furniture.  The kind that required skill and craftsmanship so that it would not fall apart in a day -- which folks back then would not have allowed or purchased!  Lets be honest.  The reason we have junky furniture today is because we have the technology to mass produce in wood look material made more of plastic and resin than anything else but its beauty is only skin deep and it will not survive the decade, much less the century!  The other reason we have junky furniture is because we can afford to replace as often as styles change the cheap, rickety, tasteless, and junky stuff that passes for furniture.  Even worse, they come in pieces with the benefit of dovetail and mortise that made for a tight fit that would last.

Now, while this image is still in your mind, think of how it might apply to such things as church
buildings, church furnishings, church art, hymns, church music, and the like.  I have a prie dieu in my office that is marvelous -- and over 100 years old.  Too many knees to count have prayed on it before I got it.  More knees will pray on it after I am gone.  It is sturdy, solid, and good furniture.  We are so intent upon building for the moment that we end up with junk in service to God.  Sadly, I bought that kneeler at a flea market for a song.  If this happens to the good furnishings of old, what happens to the cheap crap we pass off on God and the faithful?  It never even makes it to the antique store.  It is thrown into the garbage -- trash for the trash heap.  Let us make sure we do not make more trash for God or treat the things of God as cheap, mass produced junk -- here today and thrown away tomorrow.

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