My Whiteboard picture this week is my hack-kneed version of one of the most famous pieces of graffiti in the world.
Here is my version...
And here is the real version...
The real version is in the Southbank of London, and it was created by renowned artist Banksy. The art is known by many names. Some call it "The Balloon Girl" others call it "Red Heart" and still others call it "The Girl with the Red Balloon." But my favorite quasi-title for it is taken directly from the words that are stenciled in at the right edge of the piece -- "There is always hope".
Many have observed that the imagery itself feels sad -- a little girl has lost her balloon, that drifts away just out of reach -- and yet that stenciled text calls us back to a different place. After all, there is always hope. In fact, a keen observer might even note "It can symbolize loss, childhood floating away, the drifting away of dreams, or losing heart. But there is always hope. She can move forward just a bit and recapture it."
This week I'm thinking about hope.
Maybe it is because I am fresh off of the Hope Partnership Leadership Retreat that members of our church took part in. That bit of wordplay "Hope Partnership has me thinking about hope" is certainly working on me (and the sermon) this week.
But I think it is more.
It has to do with the sermon scripture that is waiting for us this week as well. The Psalmist tells us "You, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth," and then continues "Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you."
So this Sunday we'll be talking about hope. About a powerful weekend retreat that will help shape the future story of our congregation. About a little girl reaching up for her balloon. About the Psalmist's powerful testimony. About the faithful refrain, "There is always hope."
Psalm 71:1-6 Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help
In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.