From September to December I had the honor of leading nine artists in a three walled (made of 16- 4' x 7' and 1 - 2' x 7' canvas panel) mural celebrating how God has related to His people through history. The mural is on display at the Lincoln Berean Church through Easter 2016. The project's purpose was three fold. The first purpose was to express and celebrate the coming of Immanuel, God with us which we celebrate at Christmas. The goal was to be completed with the large mural in time for the Christmas Eve service. In celebrating the coming of the Christ child a team of artists looked at how God came first to man as God the Creator -- large, mighty and powerful (Wall 1 - God wall). Then as His plan of salvation unfolded God sent His Son Jesus into the world (Wall 2- Jesus wall). Jesus would live the perfect life you and I could not hope to live and would ultimately lay down His life by being crucified on the cross to pay the penalty of sin which is death. He wouldn't just die and be buried, however, He would raise from the dead - ALIVE - and then later, after appearing to many disciples, would go back to Heaven preparing the way for those would would choose to give their lives to Him. Jesus - With Us -- Immanuel is what we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus is Alive and among us to walk with us always, to reveal who God is to us and to save us for relationship. This salvation is not merely a ticket to Heaven, it is for a personal, one on one relationship of love, acceptance, and grace regardless of our past. Then when someone places his or her trust in Jesus as Lord of their life, He provides a promise, a down payment if you will, of the Holy Spirit (which is the third wall). The spirit is God living IN His children. This is why at times someone may seem so different than the rest of the world. Something about them draws you in. It is the Holy Spirit residing in them, walking with them, and spurring them on. This is honestly what my life is all about -- it is about this relationship with the Trinity - God, Jesus, Holy Spirit (a mystery of three in one). I'm not perfect, I often am way more legalistic than I want to be, but I know without a doubt that what Jesus says is true, what the Bible gives account to is true. I know this God personally and He has changed my life. I wish I could tell you all the ways.
So the second purpose to the mural was to give the congregation at Lincoln Berean Church the opportunity to watch the unfolding of three large paintings. Often people do not see artists in process and it is easy to assume art just magically appears. By working in the coffee shop at the church in full public view, people were able to see the mural change week to week. It was also humbling as the leader, when it became apparent that the public would not only see the progress but our mistakes would be laid bare also, especially if they couldn't be fixed until the following week. This was a good practice in vulnerability as an artist. One lady in particular would make it a point to come up to the second floor coffee shop weekly to see the progress.
And the final purpose was to gather artists together to work on a project in community. As I mentioned a team of 10 artists worked on this over a two month period of time. Many stories, questions, challenges, and cups of coffee were shared while working on this mural. I know I am closer to these artists than before this project.
I am thankful for the faithfulness of the team from conception of the images on the walls to the paintings and vignette work done by individuals. I'm also thankful for the man who worked so hard to create all 17 canvas panels for us for the paintings. Without their help and encouragement it wouldn't have come together and been completed. I'm thankful the for the talented group of people I work with week in and week out to serve our church and community. I'm thankful for their constant prayers as the months in which we worked on this I faced daily physical pain and other struggles. I am thankful for the opportunity to gather in community with one another and build relationships. They are deeper now than before. SO THANK YOU. What an amazing journey.
Ann has worked as a professional artist since 2006. She currently works on her own studio artwork as well as large, commercial works and with other artists in any way she can.