I’m friends with an artist in town. Three years ago we worked together on a photography project with junior high students, and now we’re doing a project with high schoolers that uses wood to make a Stations of The Cross installation that mimics our sanctuary’s stained glass.
He is all kinds of jazzed about the stained glass. He’s noticed things about it that I haven’t in seven years, like the fact that the pieces of glass are set in mortar throughout that supports the building; there’s not a single pane of glass in the place.
He looked up the company that installed the stained glass and discovered that they’re local and that this year is the 50th anniversary of its installation. He called them up, and yesterday he toured the place. He was giddy when we spoke on the phone last night.
He took with him one of the company’s pamphlets that we had in our office, dated to the early 90’s. The staff oggled at it. They learned things about their company they never knew before. He chatted up one of the craftsmen there, and by the end of his visit the craftsman had been invited to come do a demonstration at our church.
The craftsman was intrigued by our artist, someone who’s not a member of the church, who doesn’t even identify with its religion, taking such an active interest in the place and even acting as its representative.
All this to say that churches are still pretty amazing things. Those of us who lead them and worship in them every week often don’t notice the things that a fresh set of eyes notice, like the interplay of the light with the glass in the late afternoon.