Being a newbie to Lent Madness I didn’t realize that we don’t vote every day. I logged onto the LM site and the post was still yesterday’s Battle of the Iggies, so I realized that Sunday must be a day of rest, a sabbath day. Which of course makes sense because the supreme executive council of LM have their own parishes and congregations to tend, which is a good thing. So I guess we wait until tomorrow to learn whether I of Antioch or I of Loyola advances to the next round.
Today at St. Stephen’s we only had one mass, at 8:30. That’s because it’s the weekend of our Art Show and trying to have a later mass in the midst of the show on our grounds and the chaos of the Coconut Grove Art Festival just outside our gates would be near impossible. Besides, most people who make it to church today are, by 10:30, either parishioners busy selling beer or artists busy in their booths hoping the next browser will be a buyer.
This weekend is special to us at St. Stephen’s. Our Art Show is one of the things that defines us as a community. Yes, it is a fund-raiser for the parish, but far beyond that it strengthens our life as a community. Almost everyone in the parish gets involved (Mrs. Schuck, at almost 110 years old, gets a pass). From the kids selling sodas to help raise money for their Urban Adventure to the dedicated onion cutters, beer hawkers, ice runners, and hand stampers, we are all pulling together to work for something bigger than just ourselves. And no matter heat/humidity or chill/wind (as it is today) we have fun in the process.
But the heart of the Art Show for me is what we celebrated at today’s mass: God is the Creator. God has created us in the divine image. When we create we are living into our God-given image in the most profound way. “Art is in the Heart” is the motto of our Art Show; when we create just for the sheer joy of creating our hearts beat in rhythm with the heart of God.
Often, when the Art Show falls in the season of Lent as it does this year, there is a disconnect between our lectionary readings for the day and what is going on in the Art Show mass. Not so today. What Jesus was being tempted with during his forty days in the wilderness was to misuse his gifts. Use them for personal satisfaction, for worldly power. Artists, who create because they are compelled by the spirit within to create for the joy of it, hold a mirror to the rest of us, reminding us that we shall not rest easy until we know we are using the gifts God has given us for a good beyond just ourselves.