Proper big. Big space, big project, and big big blessing. Big thanks go to Rashad Polk, totes brill event photographer. Makes me feel like a rock star to work with him.
The big story. Earlier this year I received a commission for a worship space. The space is a multipurpose room at the headquarters of a national faith-based organization. The first step was to spend time in the space as well as dream-storming with the organization's chaplain. The primary wall to be addressed is 24 feet wide. The brief is to bring impact through color and theme that enhance the chapel experience while not being so churchy-churchy that the space doesn't work for other purposes. The space includes tables for eating / meeting and comfy lounge areas. In terms of theme, it is important to the chaplain that the piece brings encouragement to the staff. Their mission is to be a blessing to others and that flows from knowledge of being blessed, being loved, by God.
After the dream-storming session, the chaplain proposed a theme drawn from Scripture and I proposed design options. The theme is "God Has Poured His Love Into Our Hearts" from Romans chapter 5, verses 1 -5 which read:
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (ESV)
This is an action packed passage. The Apostle Paul is the author, teaching and encouraging the Christ-followers in Rome. He reminds them that peace with God, a peace that needed to be restored because Adam & Eve shattered it, comes not through our own actions but through Jesus. The promised Messiah Jesus took our all our shattered-ness, brokenness, shamefulness with him to the cross as the final atoning sacrifice in order to restore peace with God the Father. Eternal life of our soul, sorted. But he doesn't stop there. He goes on to encourage the Romans in earthly life. Following Christ is not a cake walk. Suffering ranges from being fed to the lions to being thought a fool, and myriad ways in between. But God didn't just redeem and run. Paul reminds the Romans, and us, that God also poured his love into our hearts by sending his Holy Spirit, member of the Trinity #3. He poured out, and pours out, his tender, personal love into our hearts. Into the very core of our being. This outpouring fuels, fortifies, and equips us to mature spiritually in all circumstances. Being reminded of that, knowing that God is actively working in us, is tremendous encouragement to serve others. We can pour into others because God has poured his love into us.
The chaplain has more insights into this passage which I'll share later in the process. From today through installation day in November, I'll be posting images as it all comes together. You might expect to see a heart or two. You'd be right.