Friday, March 24, 2017

The Finishing Touch

Nothing great is finished quickly! This is from June 3, 2013.

It is finished! On Friday afternoon, I was witness, with two others, to the completion of perhaps the longest running project in the history of Westbury Christian School. At the beginning of the school year in 2005, we decided to paint a mural in my classroom depicting the Life Of Christ which was one of my classes. (In later years, we changed the name to Gospels but it's the same class.) The work was overseen by our art instructor extraordinaire, Karen Keese. The concept and the painting came from our Advanced Placement art students. The mural covered the whole front of the room and parts of the two adjacent walls with a chronological view of Jesus from birth to The Ascension. One neat aspect of the project is that the sections were headed by students whose families are from China, The Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Ghana; kind of a total world perspective! The project went sporadically as you can tell with long periods of inactivity and the original cast of artists graduating. Most of the mural was done by the summer of 2010 when our administration graciously funded the installing of new carpet and a superior lighting system along with a plaque commemorating the students involved along with some background information and a Bible verse, Ephesians 2:10. There were still some touch-ups  though, and Karen's daughter, Kellie, and my teacher's aide, Betsy Kelly, both terrific artists, did some fine tuning at various times.

Last week, Karen and I talked about finally finishing it and turning it over to our maintenance staff for the final detail, a sealer coat to protect the paint. Last Wednesday, Karen and Kellie came up to my room and worked on two scenes, the crowd in the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then on Friday, they came to take all the painting supplies back to the Art Lab. Karen remarked that if we took five more years, she would still find things to fix. I asked Karen if she had painted her name into the painting, a tradition started with the original group. She had not so she subtly added it in the Gethsemane section. Then she saw something she didn't like in that scene and got her brush and changed it. Then she something about the feet of Jesus in another scene where he is surrounded by children and changed that, too. Kellie just sat down and sighed. Karen had proven her own point about the five years. Karen finally put her brush down one last time and the eight year odyssey was complete.

One verse which my students struggle with yearly is a quote by Jesus, in Matthew 5:48, from the Sermon on the Mount:
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

We know from the Scriptures that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God so we know that perfect in that context cannot mean sinless but has more of the connotation of completeness. Karen was right- she could have touched up that stretch of wall from here to eternity and still found imperfections which displeased her. Today, I read several posts from one of my FACEBOOK friends of  a personal bout with displeasure with facets of his life. You know, I bet that's never going to change. We all have to come to the realization that we are flawed and we will constantly be on the mend....but that God still loves us in spite of ourselves! As for me, I love the mural! I know I look at it differently than Karen does because I look at it every day. It's a masterpiece but it's only a masterpiece because of Karen and her students. And it now stands as is. It is complete.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person."

Abraham Lincoln

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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