My husband's mother died nine years ago, and his grandfather died a few months ago. So he is headed back to New Orleans this week to sort through some of his grandparents' "stuff," alongside other family members. We've been talking about this strange process of divvying up an estate, and whether or not material things should matter to us. On the one hand, the material world is not all there is, and if and when we idolize created things rather than worship our Creator, we miss out on the richness and fullness of life that goes beyond matter. On the other hand, God chose to create stuff, and physical objects often matter because they reflect something good and true and beautiful about who God is in and among us. An article and a short film have recently given words to some of my own thoughts about the importance of stuff.
In this four minute film, "Furniture Fit for the Kingdom," Harrison Higgins talks about the significance of making furniture that lasts, and in this short essay, "For the Love of the World," Corey Widmer reflects upon John Stott's relationship with creation and his love of birds.
Stuff isn't all that matters. But sometimes the very physical facts of creation–a pierced palm, a bird in flight, a piece of wood, a grandmother's paperweight–can be the things that connect us to eternity.