I Am Who I Am

Earlier this year, my pastor and I discussed number of options for visuals to enhance a four-week series he was planning on the attributes of God.

His ideas were good. He gave me the sermon topics early. He checked in with me periodically—inquiring but not pushy—as one who has a job to do but is used to being at the mercy of volunteers. He did his part well.

As for me, I could not get this thing off the ground. Did I have the designer’s version of writer’s block? Was I losing my knack? Had I finally lost whatever it was that I thought I had?

This really shouldn’t be so hard, I told myself. I have had an idea for a large visual based on Exodus 3:14 floating around in my head for some time: The words, I AM, in huge type. Glittering circles of gold and silver sequins. Or maybe quilted pieces of interesting fabric. Something that would offer a nice balance of visual drama without telling the whole story. Yes, it was possibly more complicated than it needed to be (where does one buy sequins, anyway?) and would take a bit of time and a small army of…. There was the problem. I couldn’t do this by myself. I would have to work with, and manage, others. People with quirks and quibbles. People with [gasp] their own ideas.

One Man Show

Okay, now you’ll know: I am a sinful man living in a fallen world. I took the easy way out. I created an electronic image that could be projected. On the computer. By myself—in a little better than an hour. And it did turn out okay. I like how the word “God” expands beyond the visible area. The colors are nice.

A Time for Talking

But there is a problem with this picture. By doing the work myself, I missed an opportunity to get to know some other people and for them to get to know me. To talk and work through issues that come up only after hours of cutting felt together. To hear about their kids and to tell about mine. To laugh the laugh of people who have been awake together far too long.

The old adage, “It would take me less time to do it than to explain to someone else” is often true. But I wonder if lurking somewhere below the efficiency argument is the monster called self-centeredness. It wouldn’t hurt some of us one bit to have a few more names listed behind ours in the bulletin credit.

Dean Heetderks (info@reformedworship.org) is art director of Reformed Worship and director of Proservices for the Christian Reformed Church.