By Craig Pinley
PAXTON, IL (January 12, 2010) – It’s always nice to preach a sermon when you’ve got a visual illustration to drive home the point.
On Sunday, my visual example took the form of both a person and a painting. Mary Dillman of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Lafayette, Indiana, volunteered on short notice to paint as I preached on Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…”
The painting was a great representation for our congregation to ponder – and the willing servant was a model for them to hopefully emulate down the road.
As I was thinking about the second sermon as part of a series on Ephesians, I hoped to procure an artist to either draw or paint a representation of our key passage and the central message I planned on sharing. Given the short notice, I was skeptical I could find a willing artist from our local schools and colleges or through denominational connections. And, in addition to finding someone to put paint or ink to canvas, I needed someone to pull it off in 30-40 minutes.
Mary lives around 90 minutes from Paxton. She had previously painted pieces for her church’s Saturday praise services, but I’m sure she had more time to think about what she wanted to create than the Tuesday before a Sunday service. Still, she says she felt God calling her to give it a shot – and her 45-minute effort turned out to be quite appropriate for what I had to say.
As I talked about God’s pouring out of his gifts on us in order for us to pour out our ministry on others, she painted a vessel pouring out liquid on a brown background, adding a cross and the day’s key Ephesians passage.
We have heard in the past year from our denomination and at the conference level about ministry together being better than ministry alone. On Sunday, Mary showed me that being “In It Together” could bring the message of God closer to home in more ways than one.
Editor’s note: Craig Pinley is pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Paxton, Illinois, and a former staff writer for Covenant News Service in the Department of Communication of the Evangelical Covenant Church.