As an artist, on a budget, I find myself seeking creative ways to be resourceful and a good steward of all that I have.  Whether it is making the best use of what resources I have in the studio or rummaging through the kitchen pantry, freezer, and fridge to engage in my own episode of Chopped (see the show on the Food Network for more info) in order to scrape together another meal.  Both these practices engage creative ways of making use of what I have on hand   I told you in the previous devotional, that I do painting technique demos whereby I teach people how to meditate and pray via painting.  Once again, I have taken the random marks of the demo and transformed them into this particular painting.  Additionally, I used watercolors, one of the most ecofriendly and resourceful paints out there.  As I started this painting, I committed to using the paints that had been on my palette for years.  With a little water, these paints can be reconstituted, over and over, again.  The array of colors represents my repurposing of these colors.

IMG 2268

Salvaged (Watercolor Remnants on Repurposed Paper)

In this case, as is typical for me, the painting was just as much about the process as it is the product.  As I painted, repurposing the paper and making good use of my resources, I was reminded of God who is the Great Steward and Recycler of all our life experiences.  God is great at taking our experiences, our gifts, what we have on hand and using it for grander purposes, using them to transform us more into whom God is calling us to become.  

The found objects of our lives help to build the kingdom of God.  The so-called junk and castaways of our life experience, surrendered to the Artist’s hand can be used to make a difference.  God gathers up all that we offer, every scrap and every shard, and uses it to meet people where they are, to lavish love on others.  

As an art student, I spent a lot of time traipsing around junk yards in seach of objects with which to trasform in to art.  Sometimes, it was used to create sculptures out of various pieces of junk.  I once built a life size guardian angel out of scraps:  a hubcap became its face, bowling pins its calves, a muffler for its torso, a looped shower curtain for a halo.  I even transformed old tennis shoes for it’s feet.  The wings were sculpted out of tin.  Other times, as I gallivanted through the piles of treasures, it was to find metals that could be melted down that would be used in the casting and pouring of sculptures.  Picture a gargantuan sized fondue pot with two long handles that we would melt togehter our collective salvaged metals in and then poor into pieces that we had sculpted.   Brass and copper melted together gave me red brass, aka poorman’s bronze.  Aluminum was affordable and the easiest to melt.  I once sculpted a leaf out of a scrap of strofoam.  Then that styrofoam was buried in the sand.  The hot aluminum was poured by two of us tilting the aformentioned “fondue pot” of liquid aluminum into the sculpted styrofoam in the sand, consuming and taking up the styrofoam, replacing it with the aluminum.  Once cooled, the sculpture that I had originally carved out of styrofoam had transformed into metal.  All these castoffs became tools for art. 

As I sit typing this devotion, the power has gone out.  I sit in darkness.  It is calming.  I realize that God is at work here in the darkness, using what I offer.  The one who is the Light meets us where we are in the darkness.  We are not alone.  We have purpose.    

God truly is the Great Steward and Recycler of our lives.  Let us surrender it all to the loving hands of God.

Let us pray:  

In You we are salvaged, we are reclaimed for Your purpose.  We give it all to You.  Our hopes and our dreams.  Our fears and our insecurities.  Our shards and scraps, we place in Your loving hands.  Out of the seeming wreckage, transform us for Your purposes to be used at work in your world.  With Your refining fire, transform us as Your vessels.  We surrender all that we are to Your keeping.  Fashion us in such a way that others may glimpse Your light and Your love gleaming through us.  Amen.     

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