By Kathy Klopman
Day after day I watched the masterpiece unfold as I drove to work in Madang. The scaffolding was the first indication that the exterior blank wall of the building was about to be transformed. Perched precariously there each morning the workman laboured steadily until the entire dinghy wall bore no resemblance to its former condition. Fresh coats of sky blue paint breathed new life into the structure. It was a noted and welcomed improvement.
But wait…several days later the scaffolding reappeared. Renovation may not have been the final goal. During the days that followed, an outline of a man’s face began to take shape. Hair cascaded to his shoulders, eyes wide open above a beckoning smile formed on his face. The torso was wrapped in flowing garments. In his right hand he firmly grasped a staff and on his left side he protectively held a baby lamb to his chest. The human figure was larger than life while the tiny creature nestled in his arm seemed so vulnerable but safe.
Weeks passed until suddenly these words appeared in bold, black letters alongside the figure:
Jesus the Good Shepherd is smiling. Why?
He has found the lost sheep. Are you lost?
Welcome to God’s Sanctuary
Pray Mediation Praise and Worship
Now the workman is not just a labourer, but a creator of art. His intention is to draw attention to the Good Shepherd — Jesus, who is God in human form. He brings the timeless message of hope to hurting people. Not unlike the early followers of Jesus, the majority of people living in Papua New Guinea eat what their gardens produce nurtured solely by the rains that God provides. Babies are born at home; shared meals are cooked on open fires, bodies and clothes washed in streams. People walk great distances often with bare feet on dirt roads.
Praise God that the congregation at Holy Trinity Anglican Church desired to share the Good News of the Gospel with their neighbours through art. It is a living testimony to the faithful witness of the early missionaries bringing God’s truth and light into a dark world. A simple picture with a simple message –there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7)—that’s why Jesus is smiling.
Kathy serves in support services and assisting in finance.