Skip to main content

new collage: that they might be one

"that they might be one"
mixed media (found papers, ash, shoe polish, acrylic paint, glue) on bookboard
january, 2019
gregory a. milinovich

last week our church began a new sermon series in which we are exploring how, in spite of our increasingly-polarized culture, we are in fact better together.  that's what the series is called: better together.  i am going to be addressing some pretty divisive topics in this series, like politics and race, but we began last week with a prayer which Jesus prayed, that we get to sort of eavesdrop on, as recorded in the gospel of john.  in this prayer, he prays for his followers, both those around him, and those who will one day hear about him through others, and he prays that we might all be one, just as he and his father are one.  he prays for unity.  and he prays for this unity, so that the world may know of his love for us. 

i've been thinking a great deal about unity over the last few weeks, in preparation for these messages.  i have to admit that some days unity doesn't even feel possible.  i'm not just talking about our culture or our nation, but even in the church.  as the united methodist church nears an impending vote (once again) about what our tribe is going to say we believe about human sexuality, and as the various sides and sects continue to argue and draw up battle lines, it causes me to wonder how we might possibly be one in the way that the trinity is one.  and i'm not talking about a unity where we all just pretend to agree, or act like everything is fine.  that kind of unity is too often used to cover up injustice and abuse.  i'm not talking about the kind of unity that tells those who are oppressed to be quiet and get with the program.  that can't be the kind of unity Jesus was praying about for his followers. 

he prayed that we might be one like he and the father are one.  a deep unity.  a relationship (and web of relationships: community) in which there is justice and peace and love.  as we think about what it means to be the church, to be those who follow Jesus today, how might we live into this?  how can we seek to live in that kind of shalom with one another? 

in this new collage i tried to express all of these thoughts and questions.  i wanted to demonstrate the colorful diversity of people.  i wanted to to express the messy chaos of brokenness (i used brown shoe polish and black paint mixed with ashes) and that out of that mess can come something clear and radiant.  i wanted to remember, when i look at this, that Jesus prayed for us.  that we might be one.  so that everyone can know just how much he loves us. 


Popular posts from this blog

"follow me"

so here's the thing: i call myself a Christian.  actually, i don't even use that word as much anymore, because it ends up being a wedge between me and many other people as soon as i use it.  instead, i like to say that i'm a Christ-follower (which is closer to the way the very first Christ-followers talked about it anyway).  to be a Christ-follower is to - wait for it - follow Christ.  i know, surprising, right? 

well, it shouldn't be a shock to us that being a Christ-follower, or a Christian, means following Christ, but in America in 2018 calling yourself a Christian often has far too little to do with actually following Jesus.  when people call themselves Christians in america today, they may mean any number of things, such as:
-i went to a church sometimes when i grew up;
-i once got 'saved' at a christian camp or crusade;
-i believe in God;
-i am in favor of traditional american evangelical political positions;
-i say merry christmas instead of happy holid…

joy! this woman was born!

my friends, this unparalleled woman is celebrating a birthday today, and i cannot help but stop and say thanks that she was born.  every once in a while i imagine my life without her, and it is a dark and grim vision.  in this vision, there are no children living in my house, no voices singing opera from the shower, no kids books strewn across the living room.  in this vision, i eat spaghetti-o's from a can for dinner every night, and i am stuck in every rut i've ever gotten into.  in this terrifying vision the color of everything is gray, music sounds like a monotonous drone, and everything feels like long, cold nights. 

but she was born!

and somehow our paths were blessed to cross, and somehow i was able to convince her that spending her life with me wouldn't be as awful as it might have seemed, and somehow these last 19 years feel like the blink of an eye; like a colorful, melodic, sun-drenched, joy-filled, broken-but-blessed blink-of-an-eye journey.  all because on th…

forgiven much

if i was going to start something awesome, i'd probably start with the most attractive thing i could. 

i mean, it's marketing 101, right?  you've got to attract people, tell them that you've got something great, and that they need it. 

so think about it: if i was going to start a club for steelers fans who also love indie music, i would probably start by hiring my graphic designer wife to make some super awesome brochures or posters or something, and i would make sure they looked interesting and inviting.  next, i would look for some cool people to join my club, maybe even some people that people know.  i mean, it would be great if i could get the Avett Brothers to join my club, or JuJu Smith-Schuster, or someone that would attract others to join my club.  and we'd have snacks.  maybe little black-and-gold cookies in the shape of a banjo or something. 

but not Jesus.  that's now how Jesus operates.  (well, maybe the snacks...he was often to be found eating, or…