How can we as individual Christians along with our church families strive for more diversity at home? Did Jesus teach us to be more inclusive during his short ministry? or do we have a right to think the world needs to learn how to vibrate at our speed to become more Christ like?
Luncheon of the Boating Party, Pierre-August Renoir, 1880-81, oil on canvas, 51 X 68 inches, The Phillips Collection, Washington DC. Click here to learn more about the people represented in this painting.
There is beauty in diversity I believe, and just as new blood works to strengthen our biological families, a blending of new traditions…new ways of thinking can only work to broaden our outreach to the world.
Let’s continue our day tripping around DC this summer with a visit to Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party at the Phillips Collection. This is a little museum that is just off the Metro’s Red Line in the affluent Dupont Circle neighborhood.
I remember the first time I saw this painting …in person. I had gone to see another exhibit that day and when I turned the corner to discover this masterpiece covering one end of the corridor, it took my breath away. I had never imagined the size of it or realize how it would capture me an pull me right into the scene.
As you approach the painting linger a while and feel yourself stepping back in time.
Renoir is innovational with his choice of subject here because he places people from diverse social classes around the same table. The artist and the art patron, the seamstress, the newspaper editor, the poet, the wealthy Baron across from the actress and the proprietors son and daughter all gather here around a table to share a common meal. I am sure this must have been to Renoir, his ideal Sunday afternoon get together….
And yet notice: There doesn’t seem to really be cohesiveness among this group. Some are pulling away and forming smaller groups, others are not involved at all and even others have their back to the group. Natural?… sure… but Divine …
Jesus teaches us a more inclusive way in his story of the great Banquet:
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.’ ” Luke 14:23
Where do you find yourself in this story? What does a full house look like?
My dream for our churches and social gathers, is to have more active participation from a wider range of people.
And I would like to share with you a video of the musical group The Silk Road Ensemble, to highlight this point . This group formed by Yo-Yo Ma in 2000, features artists from more than 20 countries and brings them together to invent new kinds of musical collaboration.
“Lands that were once considered distant are no longer thought so–we are all becoming neighbors.” says Yo-Yo Ma, his mission is to “connect the world’s neighborhoods by bringing together artists and audiences from all over the world.”
Take a moment to watch this group as they listen…inspire…challenge…collaborate..support…include…and I think you will find that the end result is something very special.
Some of the instruments in this music composed by Lebanese composer Rabih Abou-Khalil include:
Cello, Violin (Israel/Russian), ContraBass, Viola (Western European)
Pipa, Sheng (China)
Lord hear our prayer:
Inspire in us a desire for more diversity in our fellowships. Help us to realize our need for new life, new creativity and innovation. Show us how to look for the outsiders and bring them in, how to listen for new ideas while we honor the past. Bring into our awareness your rich abundance of opportunities to be blessed and grow if we only open our hearts to one another.
Peace be with you
ps..My book tip of the week is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. This is a powerful memoir filled with light and courage.
Coming soon…My Dancing Day: Reflections of the Incarnation in Art and Music the ebook version. This will be a wonderful edition for your iPad and Kindle readers.