I had the amazing privilege of painting during the city-wide gathering of pastors, NGO’s, business, and political leaders at Movement Day 2019 on March 16. For eight hours I was set up in the wings of a room with 1000 leaders, over 150 churches represented, acting as a visual scribe to document what the Lord was speaking to us collectively as a united Body of believers around the cause of seeing God’s Kingdom realized here in our city.
The video below is a summary of the major imagery of the painting. Even this Sunday, I was startled as a brother in Christ, Sanchez, read meaning from the painting that was crystal clear to him and unknown to me even as I painted it, so I will tread lightly, knowing and inviting the Spirit of God to speak to you uniquely and freshly through the image. I am not the sole interpreter, or perhaps even the primary one, of my own work. I will however share some of the amazing stories that unfolded during the painting, and the prayers I was stewarding and visualizing as I painted. (By the way, Sanchez saw the “Red Line” going horizontally through the city and said that he had come from a “red-lined” community in the low income sections of Charlotte, written off by government and schools, and how God’s seeds of growth seem to be flourishing MORE outside the uptown distractions of wealth and prestige. Another brother Larry saw the red line as the ribbon of Christ’s presence through time and history, weaving through the loom of history and our city. Wow!)
As some highlights from the video description:
Dandelions: A metaphor revealed in prayer that God has created “spiritually radioactive soil”, and that seeds would grow supernaturally through entire life cycles in an instant to multiply and bear 100 fold fruit. In a moment, God can do what would take 1000 years of human effort.
The cloud of Starlings: Murmuration is the term given to the amazing dance of giant flocks of starlings as they seem to float like mercury fluidly together through the sky. Without a leader or program, they are able to stay coordinated be being attuned to the 7 or 8 immediately surrounding neighbors, shifting in milliseconds to the actions of others. The Lord is calling us in the city, not to a massive program, but to actually love and respond to our real neighbors, the people next door, those we live in and among, and will release major Kingdom movement through our faithful, simple obedience to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The Charlotte and Dubai Skylines: The first global movement day in Dubai finished hours before our second Charlotte gathering, tying us to brothers and sisters around the world… financial capitals of diverse regions. While this is our prayer for God’s movement over the city of Charlotte, we recognize that we are part of a much bigger tapestry of God’s global activity.
The rebuilt Jericho Road: The Good Samaritan cared for a man abused along the Jericho road, but in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: there comes a time when it’s not enough to continue to help the repeatedly abused victims of an intrinsically broken system, but to rebuild the road with justice and truth.
The Loom: a major metaphor “weaving” the imagery of murmuration, seeds, the Jericho road, and the people of society together was the loom. God is at work weaving a much bigger story together. I particularly love that the hands are from one figure, but clearly bi-racial.
The man in the three piece suit: This came from an intercessor at the conference collaborating with me, and came to represent the spiritual authority of “white privilege” that has darkened our city’s history. Here, in the movement of murmuration, this “monopoly man” of elitist privilege and systematic entitlement is disintegrating. Those building the new Jericho Road are dismantling his golden structure and remaking it into a pathway of justice and equality. Faintly, to the careful eye, a second figure formed largely in the starlings can be seen kneeling down through the standing man, representing that it is in laying down our privilege, our grip on power and wealth, a mindset of lack and competition for limited resources… a death to self, that will ultimately dismantle this stronghold and make way for God’s Kingdom to thrive.
As always, the real medium I paint with is relationship. I so enjoyed meeting and fellowshipping with so many incredible people throughout the day, as the painting was a catalyst for rich discussion.