In the months after 9/11 a New York artist, Makoto Fujimura, created this piece titled ‘Shalom ‘. Below is a brief muse by Makoto on the nature of the biblical idea of shalom. In a happy turn of events we have been blessed to share one of the fifty lithographs Makoto made from stone onto rice paper of this print. I say share and not own it because ultimately its our hope that those who come into our home or see it displayed at church for preaching series on Shalom will be able to enjoy and enter the world of interpretive imagination Makoto makes possible by it. Its our way as a family of beginning to make a commitment to celebrating and encouraging the use and appreciation of art in our lives, and the lives connected to us. There are a few other artists we already have in mind like Athlone Clarke and Gaston Locklear when the Lord provides the money’s we’ll be able to share and care for a piece by them as well.

“We do long for a day, when ivory-billed woodpeckers will roam the dark shadows of Arkansas rivers, eating grubs and worms to their hearts’ content. Somehow, though, the ideals of that vision seem dream-like in the weight of the world’s conditions today. In the fiendish and ironic drama of survival and abundance, only the bottom line seems to matter. But what we need to think about is not just competitive drive of a successful American Company, but the issue of stewardship of our abundance. It is not the question of kill or not kill, but the issue of how much sacrifice, and for what purpose. The Bible points us to a place of abundance called the Shalom of God. The Bible does not prohibit the killing of animals. But it does deal harshly with our greed, our materialism, and the exploitation of those who are also made in the image of God. Instead, the scriptures point to a time when all things will be made beautiful, and every sacrifice is seen as the entry point of beauty. We need the ivory-billed woodpeckers in our lives, because we need appreciation of that fleeting vision of the beautiful, and what was lost. Their mysterious dark wings reveal part of what was sacrificed for our material abundance today. Further, the greater challenge may be to see that even a Tyson Cornish hen can point to that sacrificial need in our everyday lives. Can we, with grateful hearts, give thanks to the giver of life, not just for our capacity to survive, but to be given a vision of abundant grace, to thrive in God’s Shalom? “ Makoto Fujimura