22 December 2011

Advent art - initial reflections

As "stf" has commented, it is worth my reflecting upon what is behind my unwillingness to let go of control over the finished product of my Advent art (presented over the past several blog posts). But I do think that a big part of it was simply that I was trying to do too many things with that one project. I wanted to give the children something to do if they got bored or antsy during the sermon at church, but I wanted that to be more than "busy work". I wanted something beautiful for Advent. I used the project myself as a sort of meditative preparation exercise for Christmas.I wanted something that would link Junior Church with the all-age Christmas Day service. I liked the idea of a mystery that would become more and more understandable during Advent, to be revealed completely on Christmas.

And my other inspiration, besides the original stained glass window linked to yesterday, was Sarcastic Lutheran's congregationally-made Advent Icon. [She's moved her blog and I cannot track down the post right now to link to it, but it was created entirely of ad circulars - a transformation of the materialistic (and rubbish) into something holy.]

All this was too much burden for a single project to carry!!

Yet this is not to dismiss stf's comment lightly. As I move into ministry, leading and serving congregations, I will come up with liturgical suggestions which congregations will dislike, or find boring, or confusing. People will "mess up" my beautifully-designed plans. I do need to remember that worship is Process, not Product. May we all feel prepared, at the end of even the most muddled and "imperfect" corporate worship, to go forth to love and serve the Lord at home, at work, in our families and our communities.


  1. Just read Part 4 and saw your almost-finished product. It's beautiful and I think your original idea was good. The only thing is in your reflections to think over how you could focus more on the process (which you have already mentioned) and let your idea of beauty be relative. Kid's art is just not always what we adults consider beautiful. Kind of a metaphor for how God sees our lives when you think about it - his standard includes the process and sometimes we fail to see the beauty in other people that he sees. I also think this would have turned out very differently with older children rather than preschoolers. Anyway, I love your reflections on this project and we can all learn something from it.

  2. I've been watching this great interest, as we've been planning a stained glass window project. And, oh!, I share so much of your pain in letting go control of a project for children! I loved loved loved your line "I do need to remember that worship is Process, not Product."

    My 23 year old son taught me that. He is 100% process, and it has taken 23 years for me to let go of his projects!

    However, both children are performers now, and I've learned this about art, like performing arts: once the "performance" begins, it belongs to the performers, not the director.

    The lesson isn't any easier on me.....


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