Handwriting on the wall

You’ve heard the phrase. Do you know the story’s source?

Long ago, during a time of national upheaval, a time of disintegration into mockery, there appeared words written ominously on the public wall. The drunken king, now alarmed, had to bring in a forgotten Hebrew prophet to decode the warning. The decoder, Daniel, spoke boldly, clearly and then was draped with a purple robe (he did not want). The frightened monarch, focus of the warning, within hours lost his kingdom and his life. Daniel’s proclamation remains, echoing through the histories of nations. “God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. You have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. Your kingdom has been given over.”


The only handwriting that can cut through chaos comes from the words of God.


Embossing with gold leaf, permission granted by the artist

When God’s words are highlighted, there is still opportunity to attend to them before the demise.

We have a good friend we’ve known for years. Late in his thoughtful life now, he is sensing there is handwriting on our public wall. This man has gone back to the words of God, and become an Orthodox Jew. We dialogue all the time, for we have much that matters in common. Recently I sent him this image, which in its simplicity pictorializes the difference between the words given to Moses at Sinai, and the last word given by Jesus, the Jew. One can’t fully understand the first writing without the decoding grace of the second. This collograph, replete with Hebrew markings, was crafted by another thoughtful wayfarer: Sandra Bowden. The work is titled “Law and Grace.” And as with the frightened king, there is opportunity now. We stand between the giving of the words, and their conclusion. Fear is in the air. Fear, even desperate fear is the soil in which the seeds of wisdom can take root. Grace is the produce, hard-won. Grace speaks out from that very same source.



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