In his hand
by Kelly Pontsler, Major –
The time has come for some early (or maybe late?) spring-cleaning! On a spur-of-the-moment impulse I pulled out the stack of boxes that has been stashed away in my bedroom closet since I arrived in San Pedro nearly a year ago. I had the best of intentions but…you know how that goes. Time flies!
Amongst the bits and pieces I found one of my last souvenirs from Paris. It’s a simple postcard from the Rodin Museum of the sculpture called “La Main de Dieu” (The Hand of God). The figure is a very strong, smoothly detailed hand rising out of a roughly hewn marble base. Grasped in the large hand is a smaller chunk of marble, from which male and female human bodies are being formed. The sculpture stands about 38 inches tall and sits up on a pedestal in the museum, so it is at eye level.
I only made one visit to the Rodin Museum, and I remember hovering for some time, admiring this piece. I confess that I am impressed by good sculpture. For a start, how do they get the marble so smooth? And how do they know when to stop chipping away at the rock?
Rodin was born in Paris in 1840 and is known the world over for his works of art, including “The Thinker.” As far back as 1890, newspapers reported on Rodin’s artistic theory that there is a statue in every block of marble. He claimed that it is just a question of divining it and bringing it out by removing all that is excessive. “La Main de Dieu” (sculpted in 1896) illustrates that perfectly. Rodin has chipped away at what might seem to most of us to be an ordinary piece of rock, and found the work of art inside. His statue testifies to the unique relationship between God and man.
It is no small thing to believe that “there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things…” (SA Doctrine #2). God knows the work of art that sits inside of every human form. To other people it might appear to be an ordinary piece of rock, but God sees something more. General Frederick Coutts once said, “God knows what we are and yet still believes in what we can become.” I’m glad he does! How about you?
God doesn’t just create us and toss us aside. He holds us in his hand, while he continues to form us, even if it takes a lifetime. That’s reassuring! (Some of us do need a lot of work!)
I haven’t quite finished the closet yet, but the postcard has been a good find. With a bit of luck, I might even get the job done before spring!