So it’s my tradition after the prayer of the day to bring a message to all of God’s children. And I have with me a tool used in the kitchen. Have you ever seen something like this before? Let’s describe what we see.
Describe the tool.
This is known as a Honing or Sharpening steel. It’s a tool used in the kitchen to help keep knives sharp. A knife works by having one edge sharp – at a point. And that’s why you have to be really careful with knives because if you touch the sharp edge rather than dull edge, you could hurt yourself. When you see knives or use knives, make sure your parents and guardians are around. Knives aren’t toys – they’re tool – that I use a lot to cut strawberries, apples, cucumbers, and other food items in the kitchen. A sharpening steel is pretty easy to use. You take a knife – with a blade and you just gently drag it down one side and then the other. You can hear it make a noise – like a sheeen. After a few “sheens,” the knife is sharper than it once was and that’s important because a sharp knife will do what you want it to do – making it safer and easier to use. For the longest time, I thought the sharpening steel was similar to what a knifer sharpener was. But I was wrong. For years and years, I thought I knew what this thing did. Turns out, I was mistaken and I just recently learned what a sharpening steel does.
ANd to know what it does, we have to realize we can’t see everything and what we think we know might not be the full story. If you look at the edge of the knife, it looks pointy and sharp. But our eyes, without help, can’t really see what is happening at the pin-point edge. It’s the pin-point edge where the edge of the knife touches the apple – and it’s there where the knife can start to get faulty. The more we use a knife, the more that edge gets out of whack. It’ll start to wobble, no longer be straight, and resemble a squiggly line. Parts will flatten out or point in random ways and will no longer have an edge. That’s what makes the knife dull – which makes it harder to cut and harder to do what you want it to do. When you rub it on a sharpening steel, you’re bending the edge at a microscopic level so that’s it straight. It’s not actually sharpening the edge which would involve using stone or something harder than the knife to actually rub metal off, making a new point. It simply brings the edge back to the way it was. And it takes care of an issue we know is there but that we can’t physically see.
So why bring up a sharpening steel in church? Well, for a few reasons. One is that, for the longest time, I didn’t know what this thing actually di. I thought it actually changed the blade by physically grinding away bits of metal from the edge. But it didn’t. You’re always going to learn new things, no matter how old you are. And you’ll often discover that what you do know isn’t quite right. It’s okay to admit when we get things wrong because we will. We don’t always see the full story because we’re only human. We can only see what we can see – yet we have opportunities and tools that might help us see in new ways. Seeing things in new ways is an important theme in our stories about Jesus. He is always helping people look at their lives, the people around them, and what they hold most dear – and wonder if there’s a more loving, more kind, more patient, more godly way of looking at things. Jesus knows what it’s like to be like us – to only see a bit of the picture. But Jesus is also God – and knows that there’s so much more to see, to wonder, and to understand. Jesus invites us to stay open the possibility that we’re not right about all things and that we will always need to keep learning. And it’s okay to always be a learner – even when what we learn my challenge something very important to us or upend what we thought we knew. We get to learn and grow and change and, even when it feels difficult to do that, we should do it anyways because Jesus loves us, Jesus is with us, and Jesus – through the gift of faith, the bible, prayer, and the spirit – will keep showing us all the new ways to look at ourselves and the world.
Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, 7/17/2022.