Catching a Glimpse of God at Work
We can sometimes catch a glimpse of God at work when people around us interact with art or simply encounter it.
I want to share just a few joyful and poignant moments that reveal God in this way, from the creation of the Tapestry of Changed lives. This art piece will be leaving the gallery at Saddleback Lake Forest at the end of the month to make way for the next art installation. It seems fitting to look back at these.
Throughout Saddleback’s 35th Anniversary year, our church family was invited to symbolically weave their lives into the fabric of our church through this interactive art piece. It took a huge collective effort to create the 35-foot work of art. It was made with thousands upon thousands of strips of cloth cut by hand and tied in by multitudes of our church family.
At Saddleback’s 35th Anniversary event at Angel Stadium, a visible spirit of celebration and joy was apparent on the faces and in the smiles of so many who participated in the Tapestry’s creation. Several people were especially excited to be part of the interactive art. By participating they felt a greater sense of their belonging in our church family. They called themselves “Saddleback Colorado” and had just arrived after driving more than 17 hours to attend the Anniversary. They joined Saddleback online every week from Denver. In another joyful moment, one young man came running over with his hair soaking wet. He asked for a blue piece of fabric. He beamed as he added it into the Tapestry, radiant and excited following his baptism just minutes before.
One poignant moment came about through an older gentleman who been one of the leaders over a team of volunteers that cut nearly 20,000 fabric pieces. On the day of the 35th Anniversary, he was so active in serving that he couldn’t spare the time to participate in many of the celebratory events happening around the stadium. He found a moment to pause briefly enough to ask, “Would you tie two pieces of cloth into the Tapestry for me, one for myself and the other for my wife?” His touching request showed the heart he had for the church and even more, for his recently departed wife. It was her service to the church that inspired him to volunteer full time in his retirement. My eyes were clouded with tears as I tied in their two vibrant pieces of fabric right next to each other. Having gotten to know him, I knew how invested in Saddleback the couple had been and the deep love they shared.
Months later, as volunteers from Ex Creatis were putting the finishing touches on the Tapestry for its show in the gallery, a woman walked up to me with her story. She had come earlier that night to attend Celebrate Recovery. Walking in late and feeling down, she passed by the newly hanging artwork and was struck by it, especially were its two blue colors mixed together. Just then, she heard a song from inside the Worship Center, “Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall, raining down on me.” Her eyes filled with tears as God reminded her through blue sweep of the Tapestry and the lyrics of the song that, no matter how she felt coming in that night, God saw her and loved her.
It is through stories and moments like these that we can glimpse what God does through our church and the art we create. When I stand in front of the Tapestry as it hangs on the wall, looking at all the pieces of fabric used to create it, I remember that each one represents a person whose life has been transformed by God. So whether you’ve seen the Tapestry before, or haven’t had the chance, I invite you to come visit the gallery and take it in, to think about and to celebrate the work God has done through Saddleback to change thousands and thousands of lives.
Steven Homestead is an artist and composer, serving at Ex Creatis. He has a passion to create meaningful encounters for the people in the church and community through art. Find out more by visiting stevenhomestead.com.