By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 4, 2017

By now you have noticed something different on the table some Sunday mornings. Sometimes we have flowers on the table, other times we have communion, some days, like this past Sunday, we have a visual feast. For the past couple of seasons, we have invited our very own artist-in-residence, Wimberley Rader to help us see the scriptures in a new way. Wimberley received the task of interpreting the scriptural text using stones, sticks, trees, and other items. These interpretive tableaus form a beautiful bricolage based on the sermon text for the day.

These settings have brought another layer of meaning for our congregation in worship, beyond hearing the proclamation of the word or the experience of song. I look forward to the weeks when I know Wimberley's work will be on display, because I know it affords another opportunity to make meaning.

On these Sundays you are invited to the table to reflect, to wonder, to touch the tableau and experience this interpretation using your other senses of touch and sight. It has added much to our inner life and to the experience of worship. Consider how for the past two weeks we have reflected on Matthew 13 and the Kingdom parables of Jesus.

The tableau pictured below interprets this passage:

He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like
a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the
smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of
shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and
make nests in its branches.’

The Kingdom of Heaven is like this table. What is striking image, a living bush in worship, springing up with audacious beauty from the rock at its base. Look closer and you will see the tiny seeds sprinkled about the table. They are so tiny; How can something so small grow into something like this! Look closer and you will find a small nest nestled beneath the branches. This tree is a surprising home for many. The Kingdom of God is more than a sermon or a song, but a way of seeing the world in which the reign of God is present, active, and alive. Thank you, Wimberley for reminding us. Look with the right lens and you will see the Kingdom.