Joshua Allen Harris is an artist in New York City who is internationally known for his inflatable sidewalk sculptures. His chosen medium is not wood, stone, paper or clay. Rather Harris uses plastic to create his art, more specifically old plastic shopping and trash bags.
Harris positions his works of art over the subway and other exhaust vents so when the rush of air is discharged his creations inflate and come to life. His creations have ranged from polar bears to giraffes to even the Lock Ness Monster and mythical giants and monsters.
To the average person walking down the street his sculptures can one moment appear as discarded trash and litter laying lifeless on the street, only to spring to live moments later as the subway or other air passes under them and springs them to life as a beautiful piece of artwork. What’s the old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” or in this case art medium?
There is a parable there for us as Christians and the transformation that God’s grace and forgiveness brings to our lives.
“This means that our knowledge of men can no longer be based on their outward lives (indeed, even though we knew Christ as a man we do not know him like that any longer). For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God’s doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ; and he has made us agents of the reconciliation. God was in Christ personally reconciling the world to himself—not counting their sins against them—and has commissioned us with the message of reconciliation. We are now Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were appealing direct to you through us. As his personal representatives we say, “Make your peace with God.” For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
We may see ourselves or even others as discarded trash, too dirty or used up to be any further use, particularly to God. We might think that something we’ve done is too far for even God to forgive us, but let me tell you that you are never beyond the grace of God. You might think you’ve missed out on a change to begin again and currently see yourself as discarded rubble, but God see’s you differently. God see’s the potential you possess not the past you carry around. Let go of that past baggage.
No matter our past or even current condition, no matter what we might have done we are never beyond the loving mercy and redemption of Christ. Once we place our salvation into the open heart of Jesus we experience the transformation that grace brings to our lives. God takes what we once were and reshaped us into a beautiful creation to express his love and mercy. We can put down the burden of our past sins and life and step forward into a new life fully transformed in Christ.
We become a living and breathing example of God’s graceful artwork. The value of that artwork is priceless.
Let’s start living and displaying the artwork that is our lives so others can see what God has done for us and what he is waiting to do for them as well.