Check out the previous post for the genesis of this idea, but while at M-Fuge the pastor asked us what sort of image our love for each other was painting of God. Yesterday I preached at church and turned that idea into an object lesson.
There is a lady who paints in our church and from time to time she will paint while we are singing to add visual basis to our worship time. It turns out that she just did this about 3 weeks ago so it was still fresh in everyone’s mind. I asked her to paint another one, but this time it was one that we would ruin.
So she got up and painted a picture of the face of Jesus, with the cross in the background. We didn’t talk about it at all, just sort of let it stay there on stage while the song service ended and I started to preach. About halfway through my sermon I began talking about how the way that we love each other as a church is painting a picture of the God that the world sees. I cued some pre-enlisted students who came up one at a time and in big black letters wrote these words across the face of Jesus.
Gossip, Hypocrisy, Cliques, Hatred, Ridicule, and Sin
As they wrote I was asking the church. What do people see when they look at the way we love each other? Do they see a God who loves or a God who gossips? Do they see a God who accepts or a God who just talks to His own friends?
I challenged them to stop painting the after picture, the one with Jesus covered in black words and instead paint the before picture by loving each other the way that Christ loves the church.
The painting is still in the sanctuary, and with the words scribbled on it is pretty powerful.