Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace

Author(s): Luci Shaw


"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.


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"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." —Bret Lott, director, MFA in writing, The College of Charleston, author of Letters and Life

Luci Shaw is a poet, essayist, lecturer and writer-in-residence at Regent College, Vancouver. Widely anthologized, her writing has appeared in numerous literary and religious journals and she has coauthored three books with Madeleine L'Engle. A founding member of the Chrysostom Society of Christian Writers, Shaw is the author of ten volumes of poetry and other titles such as Adventure of Ascent, Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination & Spirit, Harvesting Fog, Scape, Water My Soul: Cultivating the Interior Life and The Crime of Living Cautiously. Shaw is a frequent retreat facilitator and leads writing workshops in church and university settings. She has lectured in North America and abroad on topics such as art and spirituality, the Christian imagination, poetry-writing and journal-writing as an aid to artistic and spiritual growth. She is poetry editor and a contributing editor of the quarterly journal Radix that celebrates art, literature, music, psychology, science and the media. She is also poetry and fiction editor of Crux, an academic journal published quarterly by Regent College. In 2013 she received the Denise Levertov Award for Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University and Image, and her papers are preserved in the Luci Shaw Collection at Wheaton College's Buswell Library.


1. Coffee Mugs

2. The Faces of the Earth

3. Beauty, Its Shapes and Signs

4. Markings of Grace

5. Determining Identity

6. Pointers and Paths: The Forensics of Discernment

7. Indelible Impressions

8. Seals of Authenticity

9. Remarking, Remaking

10. Scars and Stains

11. Marked for Suffering: Job and Jacob

12. A Smeared Print

13. God-Printed People



List of Poems

General Fields

  • : 9780830844579
  • : InterVarsity Press
  • : IVP Books
  • : February 2016
  • : May 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Luci Shaw
  • : Paperback
  • : 205