Building on Bedrock
A couple of years ago, our daughter, Anna, gave me a special Father’s Day gift. It was a father/daughter experience in which we went to do paintings together at a place in the Heights. They provide the canvas, paints, an apron, and a person there to help whenever you need. The last thing you do before you paint is walk all around the room looking at a hundred plus options of finished paintings, and you pick one to try to reproduce.
None of the ones you are choosing from are too complicated. You are not painting DaVinci’s Last Supper. They are all paintings that novices can, at least in theory, paint in the 2-3 hour window allotted.
You place the original there at the table so you can always see what you are aiming for. The person working there gives helpful tips so you know what paints to combine to produce what colors, what part of the picture to start with, and little techniques that can help. Then it’s up to you. You’re the one to grab the brushes, to mix the colors, to put paint to canvas, to always keep looking at the original to do your best to replicate what’s right in front of you.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus imagines a different way of doing life, community, relationships, and church. The picture he paints is what we are aiming and working and hoping and praying for. We are praying daily that his kingdom would come and his will would be done so that our world resembles the model (heaven).
Jesus teaches the way. Jesus shows us the way. He empowers us with the Spirit. He gives us each other to encourage and support along the way. But at some point we have to pick up the brush and start painting. We aim for the after picture he’s painted in the Sermon the Mount. Every day we have to put his teachings into practice, putting bristles to canvas so that God’s glorious masterpiece can emerge in our lives.