My spouse was playing special music for the 11 a.m. service, so I didn't attend the whole 10 a.m. service like I usually do. Happily, I was able to do the art project at the Worship Together (10 a.m. more family-oriented service).
We divided into small groups, the way we do each week. We did the Faith Five: talk about our highs and lows, read the Bible passage for the day, talk about how the Bible passage relates to our modern lives, pray, and bless each other. And then it was on to our art project!
Our Bible passage was Luke 1: 25-38, the visit of Gabriel to Mary. We talked about what it means to be favored by God. We stressed that it was not that Mary was the favorite, but that God had showered blessings upon her, the way that God would like to shower all of us. We talked about finding favor with God in terms of having blessings in our life. The art project helped us realize how many blessings we have.
We had a large piece of paper, colored glass marbles, and a glass vase that was about 6 inches high with a 2 inch circumference. We were to write a blessing on the paper and drop a marble in the glass vase.
At first I thought, we'll run out of marbles. And then we started going round the group, listing blessings and dropping marbles. The early process was easy: what to choose to mention?
We talked about the standards: food, shelter, family, friends, safety, opportunities. Zip, zip, zip, round the group we went.
But as the process continued, we had to stretch a bit. If you could see our piece of paper, you might see some of our offerings as strange. The Internet, for example, was not the first thing that came to mind, but if you think about life without the Internet, you may or may not agree that the Internet has been a blessing.
One of our high school group members put the moon on our sheet of paper. At first you might think, the moon? Really? If it's been awhile since you learned of the importance of the moon to our planet, you might want to go back to review. Many of us think of the moon as a big hunk of rock that glows in the night sky, but it does so much more than that--like controlling the tides, for example.
As we stretched to come up with new blessings, we realized how truly blessed we are. The dropping of the marbles provided the perfect pacing device. If we hadn't been dropping marbles and writing and waiting for our group members to finish writing, we might have not taken the time to really consider the scope of our blessings.
If we had just talked the list, we might not have gone deeper. If we hadn't had the colored glass marbles, we might not have felt so eager to have our turn to list a blessing. And if we had only talked through our list, we wouldn't have had the dramatic evidence, the tube of pretty glass chunks to remind us that even on our worst weeks, we've got a lot of blessings.
This is a project that could be adapted for many settings: Sunday school, devotional group, congregational arts group, VBS, confirmation. Even as an individual meditation, it would be an interesting variation on the gratitude journal. It's a great project in that it's cheap and so easy that anyone can do it. You don't need artistic talent--no one will be left out. I'd love to think about it on a much larger scale, an outdoor art installation or a table-top piece. But that's something for a different day.
feeling the feelings…
5 months ago