Getting crafty with God

My flatmates and I have recently discovered a love of craft. Perhaps the term ‘recently’ applies only to me, but it has been a source of gentle satisfaction which has taken me by surprise.

 

There were many reasons why we held a craft afternoon in our flat a few sundays ago; a birthday, our delight in cake, the opportunity to hang out with friends and meet new ones, and a general hospitable spirit were a few of them. Our living room turned into a messy haven of coloured card, bejewelled stickers, pencils, crayons, pritt sticks and the like, whilst our kitchen burst with sweet treats, petite rectanglular sandwiches, aromatic tea and the indulgent scent of abundance.

 

A fold of card later, I decided to introduce my bible into the equation.

 

“I know someone creative”, I thought, as I clutched my pink ESV. Who could I encourage through a piece of decorated parchment? Could this add another layer to my decoupage worship of the most Holy God? Well, I was willing to find out at least.

 

Cutting and sticking, I prayed, a verse popped into my head, and bingo! I had a plan. What ensued was a flurry of scissoring, the careful peeling and sticking of minature gold letters (who brought those?) and the swift, lyrical action of a rollerball upon textured fibres. Tadaa! A masterpiece. Well, to a 2-year old, but I thought fondly of my work, and I believe God did too.

 

Since that, err, memorable day, I’ve sent quite a few of my cards to friends and family with an encouraging verse of scripture on the front and a few choice words inside. I’ve invested in a new pritt stick and my craft life has, well, taken off.

 

Now, during my latest craft-blast, as I pondered who to encourage next, I was at a loss. You see, each card I had previously made had upon it the name of a specific reciever. Now what to do? How can I create without a reason to do so? Oh the theological implications! Instead of consulting Wayne Grudem’s ‘Systematic Theology’, I chose to simply do my thing regardless and prayed for a verse or two to get me going. Three decorative cards later, I had a trio of possibilities.

 

“They’ll come in handy at some point”, I sighed, as I tucked my craft box back in the corner under my bed.

 

Propped up on the table, I returned to my creations and read the three nuggets of scripture I had scrawled. God was alongside me, the Holy Spirit spoke: “They’re for you”.

 

Ooof, my inner cat (if that is, infact, even a thing) just recieved a fresh bowl of milk.

 

God had decided it was my turn to be encouraged. He wanted me to know the breadth and length and height and depth of his love for me in that moment. He wanted to return the favour, and bless me through my art.

 

How kind and loving is our wonderful God hey? How well does he know us and want to bless us? I’m confident that he cares completely, and that he is at hand.

 

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3v20-21
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Fake or Fortune?

In addition to a bit of sport, I like art. 

A new-found lover of galleries, I’m actually privileged to own a few wall decorations of my own. From a Venetian scene by Bob Dylan, to a Cuban oil painting bought from a living room in Havana, I like my art for its aesthetics, not for its value. I’m happy then, that I don’t own any art of particular worth (my Dylan is a print), but what I’m distinctly fascinated by is how something so inexpensive in material value, can prize millions of pounds from our pockets. If you’ve got big pockets that is… 

One Sunday evening of late, I chanced upon a BBC series called Fake or Fortune. Each week Fiona Bruce and a gang of art experts set about to prove the identity of a painting to the Wildenstein Institute in Paris. With the institute’s acceptance, the painting would be officially credited to the artist in question, giving it substantially higher status and value.

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The first episode in this series featured scriptwriter Keith Tutt, who owned a painting by French post-impressionist, Edouard Vuillard. The plucky guy had gambled his life savings on this work, despite the lack of an official stamp, so was determined to prove that his instinct was right and that the painting was in fact ‘real’.

Interestingly, the previous owners of the Vuillard, both antiques hunters, had lobbied tirelessly for 4 years to get the painting instated onto official records. They had eventually become so exasperated by the process that they ended their anguish via Ebay. Losing all hope they had jumped ship, leaving optimistic new owner Keith at the helm.

After an intense investigation aided by the programme, Keith’s beloved painting was proven to be a true Vuillard! A £10,000 painting gained a few noughts in a matter of seconds as Fiona Bruce read out the verdict.

It made me wonder, what if we were to be sitting on treasure that is yet to be proven valuable? What if there is a hidden chest of precious jewels right in front of our noses just awaiting discovery? 

Over 3 and a half years ago, I discovered I had the keys to a fortune and became richer than my wildest dreams. My life as I knew it completely changed in a moment, somewhat like that of Keith Tutt. I left the life I was living, took my wealth and moved to London. I started a new life and set on a journey of excitement and wonder. There was nothing that could hold me back, I was rich! Unlike Keith though, my wealth wasn’t borne from a painting, not even an inanimate object with potential. No, my wealth was found in heaven, in Jesus, in God.

Now where’s the proof I hear you cry! Well, there’s plenty. Imagine you are the Wildenstein institute and I’m Fiona Bruce (if you will), and I presented you with compelling evidence detailing the history of Jesus, the proof of his existence and what he did. Would you give him your seal of approval or cast him off as a fake? Would you even look at the evidence? 

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A lady on the next episode of Fake or Fortune had kept a painting by Constable under her bed for almost 40 years not realising its worth. When asked why she had only recently hung it on her wall she replied “One never really thought very much about it, one never really imagined that it was a Constable.” 

Have you thought about it?

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