The Rocks Cry Out, So To Speak

by Wes Womack
This article was originally published in PCJH’s Winter 2023 Pinnacle, “Seeing God in the Arts”

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” we are told in Ephesians 2; and again in Romans 12, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them …” 

Few indeed have been the times in my life when I’ve felt strongly that I was particularly called and placed for God’s purpose in some particular thing.  Few, I suppose, but meaningful, formative. I am thankful for these times, when one gets to see what He is doing and is invited to participate in it, consciously. More generally – at least in my experience – one seeks to know and serve God following His more general revelation and call on us; we prepare soil such as we can, we serve our community and work to create opportunities to sow into others, and we trust God with the outcomes. These things feel intentionally, explicitly God-honoring. They feel called, if generally.

But I’ve often felt that there’s another kind of call, a more general call to excellence, to living in the fullness of one’s created being, as vessels designed for a purpose. Though the attribution of the saying “whatever you are, be a good one” to Lincoln may be apocryphal, the thought holds true.

Even skiing a perfect line, flawlessly executed, to me feels more than simply fun, but even good.  And if you ski like I do, also rather surprising.  Perhaps this is over-spiritualizing a mere aesthetic pleasure, but I do feel like there is something wholesome and true in it.  A beautiful design, a well-executed art piece, a perfect execution in sport, the symmetry of a perfect equation, to me all of these feel intrinsically God-glorifying.

Yet we still must take the opportunity to participate in glorifying God; a perfect mountain sunset itself reveals His glory – the rocks cry out, so to speak – but we can so easily enjoy the thing without recognizing it as His creation.  We as humans can miss out, can fail to appreciate creation as His handiwork.  For me, a short prayer before a hike, thanking Him for the day, helps me center my perspective and appreciate the subsequent outdoor fun as being not just fun but a gift.

So… when I stumbled upon a perfect and unique matched set of monster shed elk antlers in the middle of the night during the annual shed hunt while surrounded by hordes of fellow searchers, I knew I had to do something worthwhile with such a unique find.  I couldn’t just sell them, or hang them on a rack, the antlers themselves demanded a worthy presentation.  It took me a few years – and a few false starts – to come up with something both suitably beautiful and within my limited artistic capabilities, and months to complete it; an assemblage of wood and weldment, birch and bone.  I was pleased with the result.

I only ever intended to build the one shed antler mount, as a presentation for my wall for that first set of sheds I found.  But when I was done, to my surprise, it came out so well that I began to feel like the work itself called for me to make more. It has felt like the variations on the original theme that I see in my mind were calling out to be created, a kind of beauty that needed to be brought into being, to be shared.  I began to feel that somehow I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t create them, although I could not articulate to what or whom

So, in the last couple of years, I’ve been following that thread to see where it would take me. It has been fun working with more Birch and Bone, creating something beautiful.  I have enjoyed working with elk antlers in their variety and natural beauty.  And while the antlers themselves glorify God as a part of His creation, and I have the opportunity to emulate Him in the creative act, I pray that I may not forget that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” God will be glorified; may I glorify him too.

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