NOVA on PBS had an interesting show last week. It was about a Viking sword discovered by an archeological team that had a word etched into it. Being over a thousand years old, the scientists were interested in the composition of the steel as well as how a word was successfully etched into it during a more "primitive era."
NOVA took the viewer to a blacksmith who still practices the art of making objects from metals with older tools of the trade to see if the Vikings really had the wherewithal to create a sword in their day like this one. Metallurgists, the blacksmith, and historians came together to recreate a sword much like the one they found still in fairly good condition despite its age.
The creation of a sword in this day and age much like this one was interesting. Steel, despite its strength, has some vulnerabilities during its creation according to the show. The sword that was discovered was flawless and had been etched into, which as they recreated it via the new one, is a difficult feat to accomplish. After much smelting, heating, shaping, and sharpening, they did just that, create a new polished sword that was flawless. In short, the Vikings probably did create this with their tools of the day.
The show made me think of Proverbs 27:17: "Iron sharpens iron just as one man sharpens another." Heating, striking, filing, heating again, cooling, polishing. How do men interact with one another to create that "sharpening" as the proverb mentions? Clearly all of our interaction together can sharpen us - reaching agreement via the Word, disagreement, conflict, finding solutions, creating. It's all part of who we are and is what "sharpens" us.
Pray that we work together to sharpen one another intentionally in all we do.
Hope Men's Ministry