Preachers, if you’re struggling with lame sermon illustrations and at a dead-end for new metaphors and examples, may I suggest handing every member of your congregation an 8×10″ canvas and asking them to participate. Two Sundays ago we began our “Hearing God” sermon series and handed out 380 of these canvases (canvi?). We asked our church family to be creative and to illustrate what it means to hear God. Where do you hear God? How do you hear God? What does God say when he speaks to you? Use markers, paints, watercolors, sketch pencils, glitter and glue – use whatever you’d like to best convey God’s voice and your ears.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. And beautiful. And inspiring.
In just the first week and a half, we’ve received right at 100 of these back and more are trickling in by the day. By this Sunday, the biggest wall in our Family Center is going to be covered up with these glorious works of art. From the oldest in our church to the youngest, from the brightly colored masterpieces to the black-and-white scribbles, each of them are reflective. Provocative. Serious. Insightful. Deeply personal.
I praise God for the ways our church family participates with our sermons. I thank him for those who have submitted art projects, for those who are committing to the daily Word and Prayer exercises we’re providing with each lesson, for the small groups who are digging deeper into this topic each week, and for the way our Lord is speaking to our people right now.
I’ve spent about 30-minutes in there today, looking at each individual work of art, smiling at the creativity, connecting names and stories and images, recognizing both pain and joy, acknowledging how long it took to complete these paintings, marveling at the variety of experiences with our one God, praying to him for these good people who are committed to listening to his voice.
“The one who has ears to hear, let him hear!”