Friday, September 05, 2014

The Five Year Plan

Last week, Patti and Eva came to see me before they returned to China. I was honored as I always am and I posted their pictures on Facebook as my cover shot. Late last June, I reran a devotional about their painting the words of John 3:16 on the mural in my classroom. This entry, from May 19, 2010 is how that mural came to be and came to be finished. It also stars Eva and Patti.

What you see above is my classroom. After finals the past two days, Patti Lee and Eva Lam have been painting on our mural of the life of Christ. We are close to the conclusion of the only piece of art in which I have ever been involved! The work of art stretches from one wall to the other and a little bit around the corners at the front of room 258. The scenes, from the announcement of the birth of the Savior to shepherds to the resurrection, were chosen and conceived in design by students in our AP Art classes. There are a few touch ups and small additions but the mural is very close to completion. Then, we will install a new floor, carpet or tile or a combination, and add track lighting to highlight the project. Karen Keese, our marvelous art instructor, is looking into sealing it with a finishing product to protect and preserve the paint. Our admissions office already brings most guests by to show them what our talented kids have accomplished. I believe this room will become a wonderful showcase for our Art and Bible departments and Westbury Christian School. And I get to teach in it!

Let me tell you a little bit about Patti and Eva. Both are from Hong Kong and just completed their sophomore the University of Houston. You see, we began this mural five years ago. As a Bible teacher with no aesthetic knowledge, I enlisted the help and guidance of Karen who picked the kids and channeled their ideas. I ignorantly believed it would take a week or two, or at the most, a month, from first stroke to last. I had no idea of the conceptualizing, the sketching, the putting pencil to wall to outline the characters, or the sizing and spacing of the dramatic events in the mission of our Lord. And once the painting began, there were the other interruptions that simply mark high school life. As soon as I turned around, the kids graduated and we were about sixty per cent finished. In the interim, the work has gone in fits and spurts when kids were home from college. And now, now we can see the finish line. I am getting excited all over again. I can't wait until my students come back in August and see the fruition of our masterpiece. Eva even let me brush a little brown paint on the cross this afternoon. I think she was humoring me.

You know what is really interesting to me? The ministry of Jesus on earth only lasted 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 years (depending on your favorite scholar) but it has taken us five years to almost commit it to our wall. Doesn't that seem backwards? Or maybe it just seems human. We have these grand schemes and schedules but it doesn't always work out the way we envision it. It took years for Noah to build his ark and Solomon to construct the temple for the Almighty. Although our mural is nothing, I admit to frustration over the pace of the painting as I had no physical part in it, my one stroke today not withstanding. When I can't control something, I get anxious, forgetting the Lord is in control and He is the ultimate artist. After all, he put His colors together and gave us the rainbow as a reminder of His promises. I need reminders, even if they take five years to sink in. This one, I won't quickly forget.

*Here is a little mural trivia for you!
- our mural is based on one at Lanier Middle School in Houston
-hidden in the painting are the names of four student artists...and me
-there are nine separate paintings of Jesus, ten if you count the mostly unseen one in the manger
-Patti and Eva are majoring in architecture and accounting, respectively, and they always bring me
Starbucks- besides Hong Kong, the families of our other student artists are from China, Thailand, The Philippines, Holland, Ghana, and the US

-one of the scenes of Jesus with children is based on a picture of my niece, Meagan, and her children in the orphanage in Zambia
-the pictures above were graciously taken by Michael Fonville of our Development Office

Applicable quote of the day:
"Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death. God is Jesus.''
William Blake

God bless,
Luke 18:1
me at



Lovely paintings, very talented children,

Enjoy your day.

Neena Sharma said...

I liked the photographs as well as the mural-in-the-making.Very dedicated kids indeed.


Jeanette Gartner said...

What an amazing work of art and love! And I really like that they have woven the photo of Meaghan and the children into the painting. Such a nice addition to your classroom.

David Barnett said...