Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Artist Statement: "His Eye is on the Sparrow"
The inspiration behind this work comes from two places: Scripture and my experience of community. In two places in the book of Matthew, Jesus points to "the birds of the air" (6:26) and the sparrows (10:29-31) as he speaks of the way in which God cares for his people. In chapters 5-7, he speaks to the crowd gathered on the mountainside about many things, including worry. Jesus instructs the crowd to look to the birds and the flowers, to observe how God cares for them, and to consider how much more God will care for them, his listeners. When it comes down to it, he tells them (and us!) to "seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mt. 6:33). In these verses, the birds are a constant and visible reminder to me of how God calls us to actively seek him and trust him.
In chapter 10 of Matthew, Jesus sends out his twelve disciples with some harrowing instructions. He tells them that the way will be difficult - they will be hated by some, arrested by others, and even persecuted and killed. But he also tells them not to be afraid of the things of this world... they don't change God's character or his heart for his children.
So our call is to seek God and to trust him even when our circumstances seem to say otherwise... and we have not been called alone! We've been made a part of God's family through his son, Jesus. This family is not just some nebulous concept either, but rather something we can see and touch and wrestle with as we join together as a church. To quote my friend Stuart Hayes (and many others throughout history), "the church is not a building." It's the body of Christ gathered together - locally and around the world.
The birds are each sparrows, as a reminder of how God cares for his children. Together, they point to the community that God has given us in the church. Each bird is a little different, too, because God has lovingly created each of us to uniquely portray a piece of his heart and his story.
Artist: Elizabeth Rand
Media: Acrylic paint & paper on canvas