"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." So come, join Luci Shaw as she ponders through the beauty of poetry and prose the places, sometimes unexpected, where she encounters God's fingerprints, and let it help you learn to see them in your life as well.
Preface 1. Coffee Mugs 2. The Faces of the Earth 3. Beauty, Its Shapes and Signs 4. The Markings of Grace 5. Determining Identity 6. Indelible Impressions 7. Seals of Authenticity 8. Remarking, Remaking 9. Scars and Stains 10. Marked for Suffering: Job and Jacob 11. A Sad, Smeared Print 12. God-Printed People Conclusion Acknowledgments Notes List of Poems
"Luci Shaw has spent a writing lifetime finding thumbprints in every square inch of creation and then pressing down more than a few for us to discover on our own. The glory of the prints she explores in this new collection of essays and occasional poems is attributable to the hand of the Creator. But what Luci does in Thumbprint in the Clay is what she always has done for the rest of us: she teaches us to see."
"What a delight when someone has something really good to say, and then says it with such style and grace. Such is Luci Shaw! She sees and describes the divine thumbprints well."
"Luci Shaw is a friend, seasoned soul and wise 'lady of letters' who writes 'from the edge of the known world.' Her inspired, enlightened, well-crafted essays guide us toward recognizing the marks of the maker in everyday life as she illustrates on each page how to take 'a long, loving look at the real' and find God there."
"Luci Shaw is a treasure, and Thumbprint in the Clay shows us yet again precisely why: this book is wise beyond measure, the writing beautiful beyond compare, and its heart a reflection of the one true God. We see the evidence of Christ everywhere around us, and yet we seem determined at times to overlook his proof. This meditation allows us to pause, ponder and bring close to our hearts the fact of God's design, his love and his purpose for our own lives. This is a beautiful, ruminative and necessary book."
"Luci has thrown clay upon a wheel yet once more and fashioned it into a delightful vessel filled with my favorite drink: the ambrosia of art, faith and creativity. Yes, I am besotted, but who can turn away from the poetry of a life lived so beautifully in service to God?"
"What a joy it is to see life again through Luci Shaw's artistic vision. Thumbprint in the Clay is marked by the particular beauty of her ingenuity—wisdom kilned into her through years of fully engaged living, poetry that flows forth from her creative magnanimity, and her attuned, sensuous awareness of hints of the Creator's presence in every nook, niche, name and soul that kneels before the Holy. Shaw invites us into the God-imprinted adventure of incarnate life, not a 'narrow destination.' Illuminated by this book, we see that the imprinted life is an experience of penetrating mystery and indelible grace."