This is a story of a painting in Sanzhi, Taiwan in August 2019
Written with Amy C (in italics)
For Sanzhi, it’s the sea. The vibrant blue colour is so calm. You can see even a very small part of the sea from the church
Almost every day they gathered to jot down what they saw or heard, from God, from people.
And when they listened it was water
Water is what people spoke about
Water is what the group, praying, saw: the blue sea,
the clean water that runs through the city and springs into water bamboo and cherry blossoms. Water for growing food to share, as people do, though sometimes there is hardship.
Water bringing harmony.
And people value harmony;
I recalled a conversation with a local food stall owner. Most of the locals have an ethnic belief which is somehow a mix of Buddhism, Confucianism and Animism and local culture. The food stall owner shared that he thinks all creatures has the responsibility to develop a better world. People worship different spirits to look for a balance and ask to work well together.
It was for these artists to tell him God’s harmonious mandate for his Creation at the world’s beginning.
And it is for these artists to discern what God says in this moment and place, to a world of rivers and rain, life and lack, blue sea and harmony and the confusion of spirits.
When they speak to the pastor in the church about all they had noticed, he tells them a well also sustains the church- as the blossom and water bamboo are sustained- with water coming up! The living water from God poured down and flows into all around… and overflows in the church…
God is nurturing this land and is always present in Sanzhi. The Living Water flowing in the whole city, immersed into their daily life, gives…It is not the other spirits they are worshiping who build up what they are proud of,
Or provide what they need…
To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Revelation 21.6
So with water in their thoughts, the living water they know thirsty people here need, a design formed between them;
and underneath the strong sun and under shelter from the mild rain, fast before the typhoon came, they painted together...
They served with their strength together, with kids and elders working in harmony.
During the whole project, I saw a lot of connections. Connections within the church, between the church and the restaurant nearby, the community, the government, the people passing by… The wall is just beside the main road, open to public, so they could witness the birth of the mural painting...they were so curious and willing to come to chit chat…
The paintings are held together by a strong blue thread welling up in images of Sanzhi suggesting abundance, and hope and joy.
The group leader said:
"The production of this mural is God inspired and woven with His threads and purposes. The blank wall that physically hid the church is now a piece of art that connects people via the visual imagery and relationally as people ask questions and converse about it."
"My hope is that it becomes a land mark that people will come to see and then God will touch them as they soak it in and think about it..."
""Customers at the steak house next door can eat their dinner and discuss the imagery and inherent symbolism. I look forward to following up with my friends in Sanzhi in a few months, six months, a year and trace what God is doing as an outcome of painting a piece of art on a wall”
I praise God for his continue work in this little town. Sending missionaries here to proclaim His presence in Sanzhi.
Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the living water flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh;
so where the river flows everything will live. Amy C
To learn more about how you can serve with art on short term projects such as this: click here