Sin Cero (Without Wax)

It has long been suggested, though never historically substantiated, that our English word sincere comes from a crasus of two Latin words: sin (without) and Cero (wax).  Several stories have arisen about how artists and even building engineers from the Roman Era would use wax to fill in cracks, holes, or other imperfections in their work. When a piece of art or architecture was sin cero certified, it was recognized as authentic art, not a faux-art.

Interestingly art that was sin cero  was considered superior because the artist did not need to cover any mistakes up. He was a master of his trade. Instead of hiding imperfections, he molded them to serve his purpose. That took time and intentionality. It took dedication and patience.  He designed his sculpture to embrace and embody the imperfections in such a way as to express beauty.

Whether or not the origin of sincere really is sin cero, the connection is undeniable. As humans we can be sincere–authentic–or we can be pseudo-sincere–fake. Sadly, we often chose to fill the cracks, and holes in life with whatever we can find that might cover the imperfects and protect our ego. Being without wax, means being exposed and that is something I naturally shy away from. Perhaps that is because I see imperfections where He sees a crack through which He intends to shine the glorious light of His presence.  Maybe I do not esteem the superior work of the Master Designer or allow for the time and intentionality the Artist requires. All too often, I am unaware of the ways in which His design expresses the true beauty of God’s image being formed in me.


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