In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The first thing the Word says about God is that He is the Creator. He created all things. He is the embodiment of creativity.
Creativity is central to human beings. Not surprising; we are made in His image. We are tool makers. We are artisans, craftsmen, builders, makers, shapers. We create tools to change our lives, to change our environment. The greatest thrill of our lives is in creating, bringing forth children. We thrill to the creation of new things... in our lives, marriages, pregnancies... building homes, starting businesses, creating art.
There is something about making things that lifts us up. There is something positive, something right about the creative process. I think that is even truer when we do things for Him.
This Friday the Prayer Room in our church is getting repainted; we do it every year just before Easter. I am very excited. The old prayers are covered over, the walls are fresh again for another year of praises, pleas, and expression.
On one of the walls in that room is The Lord’s Prayer. This year I’m redoing it on a sheet of 5’ X 5’ birch plywood. It is one of the largest non-mural art pieces I have ever done. I’ve primed the wood and sketched out the painting.
There is something about painting that isn’t easy to describe, to explain. I pray while I draw, while I paint; the words mix with the decisions I make, whether this line goes here or over there, whether this is yellowish white or bluish white, and is that orange, or red, or brown? I feel close to Him when I am doing something like this. The words I am praying influence what I draw, what I paint.
I sketched some of the elements on paper first. I used charcoal from the burnt church to transfer the images onto the painting.
The best part is the prayer itself: The Lord’s Prayer. There is no better prayer. It covers all the elements. It recognizes the supremacy of God; it reminds us of His glory, power, and control of all things. It asks for forgiveness, and for sustenance. It recognizes our earthly existence and our eternal one. It is glorious.
Let me share what I have sketched out:
Our master, our Lord, our provider, our creator...
These words are centered, at the top, 12:00, with the Hebrew letters for Yahweh glowing above.
Who art in Heaven...
He is above all things, seeing all things, knowing all things, in control...
These thin letters, glowing in pale yellow, will float over a spacescape, Jupiter, Saturn, a two-tailed comet, and stars. The letters settle among stars, looking a little like stars themselves. The Lord is everywhere, even beyond the limits of our own experience.
Hallowed be Thy name...
This line ends at the 3:00 position, where the night sky transitions into dawn, at the shining, rising sun, amid clouds of purple and red. The names of God reaching, flickering toward the center.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done...
The clouds turn to rolling thunderheads and tall buildings of gold and white stretch out from the clouds through blue sky toward the center.
...on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Lord, make this place Yours. Have Your will here. Start with me. Start with mine. And may we learn to obey You, all of us, from north to south, east to west, super powers to thrid world nations, may we be obedient.
The Earth floats amid clouds (6:00 position) , and the dead center of the globe is Jerusalem.
Give us this Day our Daily Bread...
A broken loaf of bread and a glass of wine, symbolizing the providence we receive every day, as well as the spiritual nourishment of communion.
...and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
These dark, stark letters of caution float over reddish clouds, reminding us of the seriousness of our failings, an echo of how we frequently fail, and a warning that we need to forgive.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil...
(Some sources say “from the evil one...”) These words float beneath the moon peeking through the darkening clouds at 9:00.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory...
The letters glow over a darkening, sky shifting into stars.
The word repeats as it slides around a spinning mobius strip rising from the center. One edge is red shifted, looking backward, the other edge is blue shifted, looking forward, encompassing all of time, all of creation. The strip looks as if it is spinning up from the center, hovering amd galaxies.
Amen... the truth, so it is, so we agree... written on a ribbon unscrolling beneath the first words... “Our Father...” so the prayer begins again.
And in the center is the cross, central. It is all about Him. A wooden cross floats an inch and a half above the painting, four spears of light stream out from it. The bottom spike strikes down, tapering to a thin point, resting on Jerusalem.
Along this path toward Earth creted by the cross the dove of the Holy Spirit is descending toward the world.
I will hang this in the Prayer Room and work on it a couple of times a week. When it is done, and when we go to repaint that room in a year, we will move it into the new building our church is going to build.
Oh yes, an update on that: We need to raise $800,000 for that building, designed to serve our community as much as us. Many of us have pledged more than we know how to raise, so this building itself is an act of faith. For example, Brenda and I have pledged about 1/3 more than we know we can budget. He will provide. There will be many amazing testimonies of God’s providence.
So... a new creative project for me... and a new prayer. I can hardly contain myself! Another year to draw, on paper and canvas, and closer to Him.