The Splintered Cedar

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars,
Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
-Psalm 29:5

Cedars symbolize worldly majesty and beauty – and sometimes even pride. In antiquity, the cedars of Lebanon were prized above all other trees. Their wood was fine, strong and wonderfully scented. Cedar wood was the top choice for building any temple or palace, and it fetched a premium price.

When snow falls, cedars turn their branches towards heaven. This enables them to sustain the weight of the snow for a long time. Plus, because of their great flexibility, cedars rarely splinter.

This piece depicts the powerful effect of God's voice on the prideful cedar, as described in the psalm. Nothing is left of its majesty and beauty but splinters. The splinters are arranged in concentric circles to reflect both the precision of God's word and the idea that the splintering is a result of something like a sound wave. The lovely scent that hovers above the splinters reminds us that, while the cedars may be destroyed, the aftermath of that destruction is a bringing about of God’s Kingdom.

As cedars can be splintered by God's voice, so prideful man can be humbled by His Word and His action in the world – leaving behind only the sweet fragrance of Christ-like humility.

Words and Image: Installation with cedar mulch and wood splinters, Gerda Liebmann

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