Shaw, Luci. Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2016. 205 pp. $17.00. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.
Luci Shaw is writer in residence at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. She is a poet, essayist, and lecturer. She has written a number of volumes of poetry as well as many other books. You can find many of them here. You can read much more about Luci at her website, LuciShaw.com.
From the back of the book:
“The thumbprint . . . is for me a singular clue to human identity. . . . Just as each human thumbprint is unique, its pattern inscribed on the work of our hands and minds, the Creator’s is even more so―the original thumbprints on the universe,” declares poet Luci Shaw. We worship an endlessly creative God whose thumbprints are reflected everywhere we look―in sunsets, mountains, ocean waves―and in the invisible rhythms that shape our lives, such as the movement of planets around the sun. And this creative and ever-creating God has also left indelible thumbprints on us. We reflect God’s imprint most clearly, perhaps, in our own creating and appreciation for beauty. A longing for beauty is inherent to being human. We don’t create things that are purely practical; we desire them to be aesthetically pleasing as well. Beauty is also powerful, in its redemptiveness, generosity, inspiration. In reflecting on the role of beauty in our lives, Luci Shaw writes, “Beauty is Love taking form in human lives and the works of their hands.”
I have honestly never heard of Luci Shaw until I received this book to review. I was interested in the concept of seeing “divine marks of beauty, order, and grace” in the mundane and normal every day objects and experiences of life. I was hooked after the first chapter entitled “Coffee Mugs” as Luci helped to develop a meditative attitude on something as simple as the various coffee mugs from which we drink.
Chapter after chapter, Luci offers a unique perspective as only a poet can offer on the many different evidences of God’s beauty and creativity. She draws from a wide array of experiences in her own life and points us back to the Scriptures in ways that we might not have ever considered. What is more, she does not offer these views from an ivory tower. Rather, she wrestles with the hardships of life and leads the reader to understand that God indeed does use everything in our life to reveal Himself as more and more glorious.
Reading Thumbprint in the Clay can be as quick or as slow as you make it. To plow through it, however, is to do a disservice to the intent of the author to stop and smell the roses and begin to see afresh the glories of God. Without even realizing it, you will begin to see more of God and less of yourself and this fallen world after having experienced the writings of Luci Shaw.
This is not because she is a gifted expositor or even Biblical studies professor. This is because she is a woman with a gift for words and a love for her Savior. She is much like Jeremiah in their is a fire in her bones and she must speak of what she has seen and knows.
This was a surprisingly enjoyable read for me. I am often timid to pick up a new author I have never heard of, let alone one who is known for poetry. In this instance, I am grateful Thumbprint in the Clay came across my desk. I recommend this to all Christians who look for new and biblical ways in which to see the glories of God in everyday life.