I didn’t even know that artist injuries were a thing, and suddenly, I was hit with one. Not me exactly, but the artist I was counting on. Apparently, carpal tunnel is an issue for someone who primarily draws. I am the art director at my church. Every Sunday we have a worship band, and a sermon, and we also have an artist, someone who draws or paints or collages a visual representation of their interpretation of whatever we are talking about. The art piece is the reason we started coming in the first place.
But, at the end of March I got very bad news. The artist I had scheduled for the month of April would not be able to do it. I had to find someone else. I sent out the list, but other people had just painted or already had plans. No response. Then, I looked at the sermon series. What does the Upside Down Kingdom really mean?
I had an idea. I sent an email out to the moms of my church. Did their kids want to paint? Did they ever. For the past two Sundays I have been asking a child or two, What do you think God wants the world to look like? They carefully choose their colors or ask me to mix them. There are a lot of rainbows happening. A lot of flowers. A lot of color. There is never any white space when the kids are done.
So far, my oldest artist has been 6, and I think the question, What do you think God wants the world to look like, is answered in the how, so much more than the what.
There is such careful consideration. Such thoughtfulness. My own girl took a turn this Sunday, and I promise I have never seen the amount of concentration come out of her. There is a deep love for this thing they are creating, and great care for how they are doing it. There is so much pride in being able to participate in the worship space provided. There is a desire to join in. Everyone wants a turn. And we are answering the question, what does God want the world to look like, so everyone gets a turn.
I have been asking them, these tiny artists, What does God want the World to look like? They hold their art in their arms and tell me. I have been shocked at how few words they need. Love. Open. Flowers. God wants the world to look kind.
I started thinking about how I would answer that question, what do I think God wants the world to look like. I had complicated theological answers about power structures and systems. But I can’t stop thinking about the posture of my April artists. How the world would change if everyone acted like they did. How MY world would change if I acted like them. If I took great care in the work in front of me. If I asked for a turn when I wanted one. If I thought about the strokes and colors and I wanted to make something beautiful, that I was proud of.
I am longing for a life that I can be proud of, for one that contributes to the way that God wants the world to be.