Thursday, July 21, 2011

The LORD is gracious and compassionate...

I recently was assigned to work on a project for World Assembly, which is a conference for student ministry leaders, taking place July 26-August 3. It is sponsored by IFES - International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, the umbrella organization that InterVarsity is a part of, as are 150 other student movements from around the world. On the last day of this conference, Marilyn Stewart, who has been on staff with InterVarsity for over 50 (yes, FIFTY!) years, will be speaking on Psalm 145. She asked me to create a piece that each conference attendee (there will be over 600) could take home as a memento and reminder of all that God did and said during World Assembly.

This assignment was fun and yet quite challenging! For starters, how do you visualize ideas like "grace" or "righteousness"? And because there are people from all over the world who speak dozens of different languages, how do you do this without the use of a common language?

I ventured into this by starting at the passage itself. I spent many sittings just reading and rereading the passage, and letting God speak to me. I also gathered many of my teammates asking for their ideas and thoughts. I sketched a lot, and gathered images from online that I liked.

After all of this, I decided to try creating a painting that would capture at least some of this Psalm. I am not a painter and know very little about painting as an art form. I definitely felt out of my element on this project! However, as I spent nearly two days painting, it struck me at how privileged I was to be able to try out a new form of art as part of my job! When else does someone get to do that? I love my job!

front of postcard - painting
Here's the final product of the postcard design. The front shows the painting that I did. I purposely left a lot of blank space in the image to give room for people to write out in their own language whatever God was speaking to them. Psalm 145 is full of wonderful words, showing God's character and God's work among his people. There's a sense that all of our worship and praise is only a small echo of who God is and what he has done. I used rich yellows and oranges because those colors reminded me of the richness of God's love. There's a verse in the psalm that says "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." - what a wonderful picture of God's provision, gentleness and care!

back of postcard with main verse in English, French & Spanish
The back of the card shows the theme verse (8 - "The LORD is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love.") in the 3 languages that will be used at World Assembly.

Please pray that this conference will be an outpouring of God's love and compassion to IFES and its leaders. Pray for God's voice to be clear in inspiring student ministry workers to follow him in his work at universities around the world. Pray that Marilyn Stewart's talk on the last day would be full of truth and grace as participants head back to their mission fields.

Based on these designs I also worked on a video that will show during the talk while people are studying the passage and reflecting. When that's ready I will try to post it here for you to see. It features another one of the paintings I did. 

No comments:

Post a Comment