I’m fascinated by things people make. Especially things made for beauty, whether their function is simply to adorn a wall or to keep one’s beverage warm. I’m thankful for paintings such as Katie Ward Knutson’s Tokyo Tsunami View, which I recently purchased. She’s a local artist whose work I enjoy, and I have a few paintings from her Metro series of urban night scenes. I’m also thankful for one of my mugs, which I found in a charity shop in Glasgow while studying there at the University of Glasgow. I don’t know who made it, but I enjoy the sturdy results of the potter’s creativity. If you’d like to see Knutson’s “Tokyo Tsunami View” painting, call or email me and I’ll have you over for coffee or tea, and you can use my Scottish Mug.
During my second visit to Ukraine I spent a couple hours at the Ethnography Museum in L’viv, at 15 Prospekt Svobody. Its full of things people made. The first floor had a room full of examples of how people have lived in different parts of Ukraine, such as Hutsul or Podil home interiors with furniture and textiles. That room also had a number of musical instruments, great examples of functional beauty. On the second floor there was an exhibit of portable gnomonics (sundials) and clocks, some of which were simple but most were ornate. The third floor held an exhibition of cut color paper art, reminiscent of the paper snowflakes I used to love cutting out each winter, but these were incredibly imaginative; some of them were hung in three-dimensional installations.
One of the things I’m looking forward to in Kiev is discovering what the arts have been like there, what artists there are making today, and how Ukrainian followers of Jesus think about the meaning of the Incarnation in their work. During my last visit I considered visiting a display of contemporary Lithuanian textile art, but I couldn’t get that visit scheduled. Perhaps I can play a small roll encouraging believing artists to make good work.
However, presently I’m still making a few tools for building my support team. A brochure is in the works, and behind the scenes I’ll soon be organizing my lists of people to contact, to invite them to partner with me, and to learn how I can serve them. I’ve talked to a couple people about meeting with them to tell them about the needs in Kiev and my role there, and now only need to schedule our conversations.
At the end of the day, though I have many things to make, I’m thankful that God has made a rest for his people in Jesus’ finished work at the cross; that he made a way for us to him through the broken body and blood of the Son of Man; and that he invites us who have trusted Jesus and been raised with him to feast freely on his body and blood. We are united by his Spirit to the One who made good work:
“when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12-14)
Now that’s good work, and cause to be thankful.