I have a friend who is a gifted painter. She re-creates beautiful images from scenes she sees. I have always been amazed when she, or other artists work in one small corner of the painting. Adding a touch of black here or a dab of grey there. How do they know where to add the dab of colour, while just looking at that square inch of painting? Then, standing back, you take in the painting as a whole and it takes your breath away.
Lately in church the same kind of thing has been going on. Iâ€™ve been stepping back and just looking, seeing what the painting looks like from a bit further back. I have been surprised, and pleased.
Yes, when you look at one small area of the painting, there is a dab of black on someone's life. A bit of pain and loss, or they just donâ€™t really want to face the things they need to face. But in that same square inch you also see their growth and the love they have for their children or parents or their God.
Then you step back and take in the whole picture. The individual stories that colour the painting. The movement of God through and between the different colours. And it makes sense, it all fits. It takes on a beauty and a value too great to know.
Itâ€™s most fun to watch the church be the church during the sharing of the peace, or even after the service, how they linger and share their stories and check up on one another.
Today again, God was in the house, and they shared love with each other. Not just that superficial kind of love either. Oh yeah I know there is still that kind of self serving love out there, but this place is changing. It used to be a â€œFriendlyâ€ church, without being a church of friends. But I would say that more and more they are becoming a church of friends. That just pleases me to the point of tears.
It was good to gather with them again this morning, and to experience God in them too.
The portrait that is being painted will be a beauty, full of colour and life. It will be hard to place a value on it. Someone I know has already spilled his blood for it, and that gives it a value beyond measure.
I canâ€™t wait to see the finished work.