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Our Focus on Missions Team was asked to consider a graphic to accompany blogs. We quite readily came up with the slogan “Missions Connections” and discussed possible themes for a logo. Suggestions included a heart encompassing the world and hands reaching out for connection. We left these concepts with our local artist, Gay Gering, for deliberation. She describes her handiwork and inspiration below.

Putting a visual image together is usually an intuitive process. Although one may start with an over-arching concept, the artist is quickly drawn into working with all the elements of design. The manipulation of line, form, color, negative/positive space, and the size and use of the format itself, are the immediate and continuing focus of attention. This focus is more about “what does it look like”, than “what does it mean.”  Self- expression is often unconscious amid this preoccupation with the elements of design. But, in the end, a visual image may uncannily reveal how those same design elements have been unwittingly used to create a pattern which reveals a meaning much greater than its individual parts. This revelation of hidden meaning is often just as much a surprise to its creator as it is to the viewer.

The two hands energetically stretching out to connect to each other describe bridging differences between God and humans, as well as humans and humans. The hands are revealed through a black line, but otherwise occupy much of the negative space in the image and can momentarily disappear from our visual field. Creating meaningful connections with God and others requires a spirit of love and good faith.  Simultaneously, the abyss of the unknown and even the unknowable between us can lead to feelings of vulnerability; our bridging attempts seem risky, like a stab in the dark, for we are not able to see their outcome. So, our desire to connect may momentarily disappear. The inner space within the hands and arms forms an ill-shaped heart. It is colored warmly and moves toward the viewer with the tenderness of pink, suggesting the charity of love, but, at the same time this heart is deformed, tattered and shredded at the bottom.

Contained within this deformation is a perfectly shaped heart outlined in bright red. Bright red is the blood of Jesus which reconciles us to the everlasting divine love of God. In the kingdom of God’s perfect love, ultimately, the entire human family is One. Because God loves us first, we are able to bridge our differences, connect with and love others. It is in the constant interplay, the bridging between our deformed human hearts and God’s perfect love that the work of renovation, healing and reconciliation actually takes place. The land masses drawn within this perfect heart indicate the present human differences of language, culture, geography, history, religion and economic status, which must be bridged. Even this small part of the globe can remind us that, in terms of the world economies, we Westerners are the 1%. To whom much has been given, much can and ought to be paid forward. The word MISSIONS is moving upwards and occupies the highest point of the image.  Any completed aspect of a Mission reveals that through God’s love a Victory over our own deformed hearts has been won.

A bridge has been built and we have traversed it, over our differences, to join suffering hearts together from both sides of the world. The word Connections is lower and moves straight across the other half of the format. Creating and maintaining connections in the spirit of love and faith is the hard work which must be done, patiently, peacefully and steadfastly. The entire drawing is continuous and is connected as one flowing line. Every part belongs to every other part. Just so, our human hearts are One in God’s love and eventually we can come to belong to each other as one human family.