Hope + Elim in Des Moines, IA first in-person Sunday services combining congregations.
Hope + Elim first service together touch the link to watch the full service from November 15, 2020 9am service.
Title: “Eternally Connected”
Artist: Renae Zanella
Created: November 15, 2020 Live 11am service
Material: Acrylic on 4’ x 4’ canvas
Inspiration: Romans 15:5-13 NLT & Ephesians 3:17
God is doing an amazing thing bringing these two churches together. I was honored to get to paint live at the 11am service. After working several weeks earlier this year on the renovations with my husband and the other crews we couldn’t wait to finally see it come to life. Everything came together at the perfect moment.
We have been connected all along from the very beginning. There are so many layers to this life we get to live out and explore together. We are all apart of something that is much bigger than we can see. But the seed was planted in our hearts, at the core of our very being. Our ancestors paved the way in prayer, tears, love, joy and even blood was shed for us. The red paint dripping from the faces in the tree tops down to the roots represents just that. Many generations have prayed and watered that same seed of Unity. People alive today are still watering that seed, praying over it and taking action. That is how these two churches combined. So many different things had to lined up for this to happen. It is time!! Time to come together in the name of Jesus.
“It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday mornings.”Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Finally these two churches have come together officially!! There was so much energy in that beautiful place November 15, 2020! Praise God for all the people who worked really hard to get this renovation finished during a pandemic and move out of two churches into one. It turned out so amazing!! I was very emotional to be apart of this celebration, thank you again for the invitation to paint. This experience blessed me and many others. I keep praying for God to use me. I can’t wait to see how God is going to work through Hope + Elim.
I started the painting with two groups of trees on either side of a seed in the middle. The seed represents Unity.
Just like a seed of a tall oak tree has it’s own unique design and purpose. We all were created with a unique design holding talents and purpose too. The oak trees roots grow deeper below than the canopy above. God designed it to endure all weather so it can live out it’s purpose. Every living thing on this planet has been carefully designed to compliment each other in order to create a balance.
My brother Eric who’s been in heaven 14yrs now said something in the video he made a few months before he passed away that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “This is all way too complex to be an accident!”
All the trees in every forest that’s not too damaged, are connected to each other through underground fungal networks. Trees share water and nutrients through the networks, and also use them to communicate. All the different species of life are connected, share water, communicate and are designed to grow together in harmony. The seed was planted in the beginning to love one another and live in peace. All race, creed, color, gender, differently abled and all living beings including nature. It starts in our hearts and minds. We need to check both many times a day to ensure we keep them deeply rooted in love.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:17 NLT
The white dots on the people represent the heart and the mind. Some people are connected to their mind alone. While some people are only connected to their heart. Some people are connected to the heart and mind. And some aren’t connected to either. No matter where you find yourself in this season just know that you are loved just as you are by the creator of Heaven and Earth. Only by uniting can we progress and help make heaven more crowded.
Phenomenon of Man touch the link to view a series based on the masterworks of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin published in 1955.
My mom shared a video of this concept with me while I was preparing for this live art. There are 4 short films that go into more depth about the concept of evolution and consciousness of man. When we become connected to our heart and mind we transcend into a higher state of consciousness. I googled, heart mind bible verse, and it is all over in the Bible. It is what Jesus was trying to teach us. When our heart (trust) is connected to our mind (belief) we can experience a deep peace. Our decisions and responses will be balanced by the Holy Spirits influence. This is the ultimate challenge to not allow our heart or mind to over power the other. Jesus is the best living example of how to be easy going yet firm in faith. To stand for justice and equality. To let love shape and change the world.
We are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10). The mind and heart must both be engaged in this process because to have faith in God, we must believe and trust God. Believing requires the mind, but to trust someone requires the heart.
To have saving faith, it requires belief and trust, which require the mind and the heart. Therefore the mind and heart must both be changed through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:6-16, Ezekiel 36:26-27). Those who truly know God will love God with all of their heart and mind (Matthew 22:37).
That moment I realized how amazing it is that God always shows up, prepares us and leads us! The blue path represents the living water that baptizes us and renews us. The water is the prayer and the blessings that pave the way. When we pray we are watering a seed. All life on Earth shares one thing in common: we all need water to live. Without exception.
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
John 7:37-38 NLT
A little over a week later I had time to sneak over and touch up the artwork before it gets displayed in the church. There were a few staff members there but I pretty much had the entire sanctuary to myself. I took my time……..it was empty but it was full of energy. The same energy I felt the first time I walked into this place back in March. I am moved over and over to see the transformation of this beautiful historic 1889 church restored in order to continue blessing this community. It has been emotional especially during the “Great Pause” of 2020. It was inspiring to finally see people in the pews safely distancing and wearing masks, the worship band rocking out on stage and the two Pastors who have united give a message of hope. We hadn’t been to a service inside since Ash Wednesday. Thank God we’ve been able to stay connected through the online services each week.
Hope + Elim is now streaming live services each week at this link. Hope + Elim online services
While I was there touching up I was just soaking it all in and reflecting on this journey. This year. Better together. We are designed to do this life together. This is just a building and without the people there is no church. This has been a challenging year but God is using every opportunity to turn it all around for His good. It’s all about perspective. Painting up on the balcony compared to on stage was incredibly different. In the same room but two different views. Both views have their pros and cons. Neither view is right or wrong…just different.
Thanks be to God in the highest and peace to His people on Earth.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr