When I was serving my first congregation, an artist started attending our worship service and I asked her after she had been there a while if she would help me to make the worship space more beautiful. The sanctuary had this absolutely gorgeous wood ceiling, but the walls were white cinderblock with windows that looked like they belonged in a school gym from the 50s. So I shared that I would like to do a sermon series on the Beatitudes. I had found these really moving posters from some Catholic Sisters, but I wanted people to be moved by these images and on their own they are plain. She came and saw the posters and after thinking about it said I have these window screens in my basement left from when I put new windows in. Why don’t we use them as a frame. After looking at the frames and posters together she thought we should get some sticks and put them around the pictures. I think we hiked on the mountain with our dogs and picked up the branches.
We met at the church and laid out the frames and the posters on the tables in the fellowship hall and started playing with which picture looked better on which frame. Then we went to work using wire to attach the sticks and the posters. As we working we listened to the Indigo Girls, singing and enjoying the creative spirit of God working through us. At one point, she thought about weaving the wire in and out of the frame to add more depth to the pictures. Then we placed these images around the sanctuary on the walls, framing the worship space with these images of what being Blessed looks like.
These works of art surround me in my office. Every day when I enter my office I have that prayer enfolding me. Blessed. When I look at them, they always make me pause to remember how God looks at the world and says Blessed. God looks at the world and says stop and pay attention to those that the world tries to hide away or dismiss. They are blessed…
Blessed are the poor in spiritBlessed are those who mournBlessed are the meekBlessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousnessBlessed are the mercifulBlessed are the pure in heartBlessed are the peacemakersBlessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sakeBlessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, Matthew 5:1-12