We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are an amazing creation by God that He Himself says of us that we are made in His image. That is mind-blowing when you think of it. But, something bad happened and now we are tainted with sin. We are bent toward doing evil and not trying to be as “god-like” as we can. By the blood of Jesus Christ we are made whole and conditionally right with God, but our bodies are still bound to the curse of physical death, brokenness, and sin. When we except Jesus and we are purified, sanctified and forgiven, God begins to reshape us and make us whole again. He is The Master Craftsman.
I love guitars. Of all my interests and hobbies there is none greater. I love all guitars in every shape, size, color, and condition and will often rehab them and play them. In fact some of my favorites are guitars most pros and amature enthusiasts would consider not worthy of their time. I modify, upgrade, tweak them and make them all the potential will allow them to be. But, that is where my skills stop. I am not a master craftsman. I am not one of those who can create something amazing out of trash. But, there are some that can. This is a story about one of these special craftsman and how the redemption of a broken guitar relates the the story of a broken and dead man- like me.
This is my brand new guitar. It is an Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus. I guess, really, it is only, sort of, brand new. OK, actually it is not brand new by industry standards even though it has never been owned or played. But it is brand new to me and by redemptions standards. This guitar now has a new life and a brand new future and is probably stronger and heartier than she was the day she left the factory. Here is why.
One of the major issues with the Les Paul style guitar is the neck. See, that neck gracefully connects to the head at a 14 degree angle. The head is where the tuners are. This tipping back of the head makes the area where the neck and head meet weak. So weak in fact that this 14 degree “curse” has been the death to many Les Pauls. If the guitar drops or is hit against something and the head makes contact the result is normally a split down the neck from the head or a complete beheading of the guitar all together. The break is as serious and it is scary to see. It often, too often means the guitar is tossed away. Why? Well you see, the Les Paul’s (Epiphone and Gibson) have their necks glued in. You can unbolt it and put in a new one. It has to be “surgically done” and is difficult and extremely expensive!
This guitar faced such trauma before she ever made it to a store. She left the factory and was heading to the United States to be united with a musician somewhere to create beautiful music together. That is what she was designed and created for. A tool in the hands of another master to create the life blood of society- the soundtrack for life itself. Well, she never made it. She was involve in an accident and she went from being a treasure to trash in a matter of seconds. Her life was over.
A person skilled in the guitar arts is called a luthier. A luthier can design, build, repair, modify, and rehab a variety of instruments. It is a skill and talent that takes years of practice, patience and determination. It also takes a great love for the art and for the instrument themselves. One particular Luthier, Bud Veazey, brought healing and new life to this once dead guitar. Here is what he did.
Here you see the guitar neck in pretty bad shape but the crack in the neck is not necessarily lethal. Bud has removed the strings to remove the tension on the neck and he has removed the nut. With some gentle flexing on the tuning head you can easily see the break. Fortunately the break does not go all the way through. Only someone skilled with this experience and knowledge can make the repair. This type of damage occurs easily in Epiphone Les Paul guitars because of the angle of the headstock.
Bud Veazey did not see this as the end of this guitar. Rather, he saw potential for it. He knew that he could apply his knowledge, skill, time, and TLC to this once dead instrument and make it alive and useful once more. Using the told of his trade, some special glue, and his experience, he re-made this guitar into the one you see below. In this picture you see this now redeemed and remade guitar in my own front yard posing pretty- ready to be played. In many respects she is as good as new, but not quite all. There is still the knowledge that this guitar once had suffered greatly, if you look really close you can see the evidence that there was once something significant that happened in this guitars life.
What this guitar went through is very similar to what every human being has gone through. In the beginning we started out as a race of perfect beings. We were created in the image of our God to fellowship with and to be with Him for ever. But something terrible happened along the way. Man fell into sin and went through a transformation from life into a state of being able to die separated from God eternally. Now death has been the destination of us all from that time until now. Except! God made a way for that relationship to be restored and that an eternal life with Him awaits us. Jesus Christ died for us to take away our sins and our debt that leads us to death. Instead we do not die but are ushered into His presence when our life in this old body is done. Later we will be reunited with our bodies and they will be new, perfected and pure! But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s finish talking about the here and now.
When we surrender to Christ and chose to no longer live for ourselves but live for Him instead, He, live Bud with the guitar, begins repairing us, restoring us and making us whole again. With us, it is not our neck that is broken but our heart. Our heart needs to be broken to pieces at the reality of our condition and realization that we all deserve to die and then it begins to be put back together in a better state than before. Or seeming strong stoney heart is not as strong as the new softer repaired heart that God re-creates in us.