The second mural we painted was not an educational piece - it was 'something beautiful for the sake of being beautiful' as Carla put it. When we had been discussing and praying about what murals to paint, Carla had felt it was important for one of them to 'just be beautiful' with no other purpose. This concept might be hard to grasp, especially for some of the people for whom the mural was painted - why waste valuable wall space with just an image rather than using it to promote education, especially when resources are scarce? However, in being seemingly 'non-educational', we found it caused a more powerful reaction than all the other images we painted and promoted the most important message you could ever hear.
And that's just what happened. One night I couldn't sleep and suddenly the idea came to me - stained glass. I knew straight away that this was the answer we were looking for. Stained glass windows can be breathtakingly stunning but they are made from lots of flat blocks of colour and often a limited palette! I could see an image in my head of this huge stained glass style dove with blue shards coming from it as if it was bursting with light and life. I'm amazed to say it looked almost exactly like the mural we ended up with!
The dove mural isn't an educational piece, it isn't a diagram and it doesn't have labels. But it proclaims a message to anyone who is listening and it is more important and exciting than anything you will come across in a textbook. The image speaks life and light; the image speaks about God.
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
At the right hand side of the mural you can see three crosses, they remind me about what Jesus went through for us. He sacrificed his life to save us, he was innocent yet he took our punishment upon himself so that we could go free. The crosses in the mural are empty because Jesus didn't just die, he rose again! And now he is seated on high.
The dove in the centre of the picture symbolises this life, hope and freedom that is available to us now because of what Jesus has done for us. After Jesus went up to Heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to help and live in his people. A dove is often used to symbolise the Holy Spirit.
These are the basic thoughts behind each of the three main elements of the image individually, but the elements link together and as a whole there is a lot more to be heard - much more than I will write to you now! The best way to understand the mural is to ask God to talk to you personally about it. I didn't explain the meaning of it to any of the village women who came in and danced and praised God when they saw it, but their reaction proved they heard God in it, and so I believe you will hear God in it too if you listen.