Monday, March 12, 2012

The River Project

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Revelation 22:1 
Then the angel showed me the river  of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne  
of God 
and of the Lamb

Psalm 46:3-5  
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  
 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
   God will help her at break of day.

Today is Monday and I am off to a slow start. Monday's tend to be my day to rest and regroup. My weekends tend to be busier than my week. I know that I need a day of rest somewhere in my week - so for me Monday becomes that day. This weekend was particularly busy with hosting a leadership training event on Saturday, and then going to get the materials needed for "The River" project in the late afternoon. Sunday is always a busy day,  after helping with the church service, I was not needed in the kitchen to help prepare the meal for the homeless so I started work on the river project.
I thought about a number of things to write about in this post but settled on telling you about the river project.  It is funny to me how I can suddenly see things. I think God just kind of drops them into my head. I think of Bezalel and Oholiab who I have written about in other posts. They had the task of creating articles for worship for the tabernacle of God. I think they came to the project with some level of craftsmanship and skill but I also think that God anointed, gifted and prepared them for the task they were given. To be able to create something I have to be able to see it in my head before it exists. If I can see it I can then see the pathway to make it become a reality.  So recently I saw how our prayer loft could be made into what looked like a river bank. It has to have a frame work built and my friend Donnie is taking on that part of the project. So the frame will contain the sand and rocks on top of the chest high counter in the prayer loft.  The smooth river rocks will have prayers or prayer topics. There will also be small glass gem that will have the bible address for various promises in the bible. The rocks and gems and candles will be scattered through the bed of sand. In a sense in finding the gems it is like finding treasures from the Word. The whole River project is an interactive or hands on worship and prayer experience.  So I shared my idea in staff meeting last Tuesday and everyone liked the idea and said can you have it done by March 25th to go along with a sermon our new intern Ryan Mahoney will be doing on the use of arts in worship. They mentioned that the back drop banners should be changed to go with the project. At that time I had not looked beyond the river bank and had not yet seen the bigger project. So in my prayer times I began praying and I began to see what looked like banners of flowing water. Almost like a waterfall or river. In the river there are fish and water plants. You can see my rough drawing at the top of the post.

So Saturday afternoon I went shopping to discover the materials to make the banners. I knew I wanted the base to be gold and for it to be layered with sheer blue fabrics to sort of give the feel of the clear water mentioned in Revelation 22. 

It was fun explaining the project to the woman who cut my material for me. She was very excited and said she wanted to come see the project when it was complete.  I am hoping that his project will give people reason to invite their friends to visit the church and experience "The River". 

Sunday afternoon I set up big 8 foot tables and began work in the back of the sanctuary on the project. 
It was a quiet location and gave me room to spread out to work on such a large project. The banners are each 20 inches wide and about 80 inches long. It took me a while to get the slippery gold fabric cut in to three 20 inch panels. This fabric is stretchy which will present some challenges. I am realizing that I will probably have to attach them to something with a bit more stability so they will hang strait. Still thinking on that part. These bigger projects seem to develop as they progress. I go with what I can see and sometimes have to go look closer or think and pray about how to solve various issues that arise as I go along. So I am now looking into a more sturdy backing. Which will mean another trip to the fabric store. 
On my first trip to the store I was really challenged to find something to make the water plants. I looked at all kinds of ric-rac and silk plant leaves and finally settled on a dark green black textured yarn and another that had lots of strings coming out from the it.  I thought I would find a way to combine the two to make my sea weed.  You can see from the photo the two materials that I chose and how I was able to combine them through what I will call finger knitting. A skill I learned as a child, that has finally come in handy.  I took the seaweed that I created and cut it into three lengths so that I would have enough to use on each of the three banners. 
I gave the materials for the fish to my friend Lisa to come up with some edgy fish. I know she will do a great job. I am in this project trying to include others as a way to create community. I will take the banners to our Wednesday craft group once they are laid out and pinned in place and see if the ladies will help with the hand sewing. So by 8pm Sunday night I decided I was tired and needed to go home. So after having sewn some of the sea weed into place, I folded and straitened up my work space and headed home. Here is a photo of the progress made to this point.

I was talking to someone yesterday about how we are created in the image of God. You know how when a child is born to a family people will say oh thats her mother's nose and her fathers eyes. In each of us there are bits of the likeness of God that should come through in who we are. I look around and see the finger prints of God and the wonder of the things that he created. I think we each have a bit of the Father's creativity though it may be expressed differently. Mine comes out in the ability to create beautiful things. To like Bezalel and Oholiab , be able to create things to help people pray and inspire them to worship and praise God. To be able to in an artistic way communicate some truth that I see in the word. I guess in this project I am expressing that we each need to go to the source of the living water. To Jesus himself. Sure we can get water second and third hand from others who are wells of salvation or who carry a bit of water to share with others.  The best thing is to go to the source and get the water as it flows from the very presence of God. Jesus told the woman at the well John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  If you would ask Jesus he would give to you living water. 

Dear Lord, 
Come refresh us with your living water. We live often in a dry and dusty barren land. We can eek along in our spiritual desert looking for the next oasis. We run from place to place in search of revival and refreshing when we could just come to you and know you and abide in you and walk in the continuing filling and refreshing of you abiding presence. Sadly we too often keep you as God in a box and rather than walk with you all the time we take you out when we need you, like our personal geni in a bottle. Lord forgive us and help us to invite you to be part of every moment of every day.

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