I went to art class

At church, I’ve asked people to “take their pastor” to work. They see me at work, primarily. I often have no idea how they spend their days or do while at their vocation.

A few people have already taken me up on this. I’m hoping for more invitations after the holidays (hint, hint! Southminster!) Whether their ‘work’ is a paid job or what they do in their retirement or when the kids are at school, it is fun to see people in their natural ‘habitat’.

This week, I went to an art class with a church member. I was expecting to just sit and watch Pam make art. But the teacher planned a stand alone lesson that would be valuable to her regular students and to this random minister who was joining for a day. (How nice is that? Such hospitality!)

She taught us ‘value scale‘. Using a pencil, we drew from white to black, with the shades in between. It was hard. (Not hard like breaking rocks in the hot sun, but it took me beyond my natural skills and gifts).

Then she had us draw a white styrofoam cup and a black piece of paper.

I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to draw something that resembled a cup, but that turned out to go better than expected.


I’m not expecting a big career in the arts, but the reason I’m sharing this with you on Christmas Eve because my lesson in value scale made me realize that I drew light and I drew dark with the same pencil. Darkness and Light are often portrayed as opposites, as different things.

In fact, they were drawn with the same pencil.

I preached on darkness and light on Christmas Eve a few years ago:

“I’ve heard many of my friends recently commenting on the darkness they feel. And at this particular time of the year—maybe it’s the lack of daylight, perhaps it is their expectations of what the perfect holidays should be—it seems to hit them harder than it does at other times.

So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
—Mumford and Sons “Ghosts that we knew”

We know darkness, and we gather together at the darkest time of the year with candles to proclaim that on us a light has shined and it gives us hope that we’ll find that perfect balance of light and dark.”

Wherever you are today, I hope you know how grateful I am for you. That you take the time to read what I write is a humbling gift. I know some of you are in the midst of the darkness of loss and mourning right now. May  light be drawn into your life in greater measure.

I pray we will all see some light in the darkness.

At Southminster tonight, we’ll light candles. One small flame may not do much, but when everyone’s candle shines together, it’s a beautiful sight.


Merry Christmas, everyone.

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