Have you ever stared at a piece of artwork? And, as you stared at that piece of artwork longer, the more you gained greater and greater appreciation for it?
During November, I had the opportunity to join the Sandy High School Mock Trial team in New York City, and one of the destinations the students greatly desired to experience was the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art.) It is the largest art museum in the United States, and with seven million visitors, it’s the third most visited art museum in the world. Its permanent collection contains over two million works.
It was a brilliant four hours. There was one piece by Renoir that particularly captivated my attention, and I found myself sitting on a bench staring at it. I went from merely walking by to sitting down for an extended time and drinking it in.
Thankfully, I don’t need to travel to NYC to be swept away by a great piece of artwork. One of our Good Shepherd family members graciously gave me an extraordinary piece of his artwork. Over this past month, I’ve found myself continually examining and enjoying Joe Kitzmiller’s art displayed in my office.
In moving to the Northwest, Rachel and I have had our eyes opened to the master artist’s artwork displayed everywhere we look. In Romans chapter 1 and Psalm 19, our creative God puts his handiwork on display for all to see. Over these last number of months, the Lord has been revealing so many beautiful nuances of our church. These past few months have been Kairos moment after Kairos moment, revealing breakthroughs in better understanding how the Lord has developed Good Shepherd in unique and wonderful ways. I’ve met numerous people who have attended Good Shepherd anywhere between 20 to 40 years. The longevity and loyalty that many have shared with one another and with the church binds them together in a common history. While Good Shepherd, like a lighthouse, has consistently stood for the mission “learning together to live like Christ while reaching out in His name,” the church has expressed that in different ways through different pastors over different seasons. It is my sincere prayer that just as the Lord has gifted us with a blessed shared history that He will also bless us with an extraordinary future. We all pray that Christ’s church best days are still ahead of us. As we journey this next season of Good Shepherd, all of us (including me) have questions as we trust the Lord to lead us to know His will for Good Shepherd and give us the courageous faith to follow through with all that he points us to. In order to faithfully follow the Lord’s direction, He calls us to seek oneness as a church. Yet, to do that we must choose to be guided by trust rather than suspicion. I’ve been reading the book Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey; it may be the most important book I’ve read in the last five years. It has opened my eyes to see that the world is filled with suspicion of one another because our past has proven to us that people let you down, people disappoint, and people are commonly untrustworthy. While the world replaces trust with suspicion, may the Lord give His people a counter cultural reality of trust; trusting that God is sovereign and in control, trusting that Jesus will never step down from leading His church and trusting that God has brought all of us together for such a time as this. To foster a culture of trust, we have been doing our best to improve transparency through a variety of communication vehicles. We will continue to share weekly emails like this, we encourage you to listen to the podcasts that pull the curtain back even more, read social media posts from Good Shepherd, and the elders in 2019 will more regularly communicate through written and digital formats. In addition, we have begun offering times for anyone in the congregation to meet. If you would like to get to know one another, if you are wondering about something or if you have concerns please sign up for one of those meeting times. We sincerely desire to hear from you.
Like an extraordinary piece of artwork, the more I stare and see the nuances and the more I learn about the artwork and the artists who designed it, the more the Lord grows my heart for the beauty only He is masterful enough to create.
This Christmas season take some time to allow yourself to be captivated by something beautiful. When the Lord opens your eyes to that work of beauty, slow down – maybe even sit down – and let it wash over you.