This mural is located right before we enter into the worship hall of the First United Methodist Church in Flushing, NY. The images within the cross represent a campaign we began last year called the ‘Band of Brothers & Sisters.’ The ‘bands’ inspiration and heart came from the Gospel story of the four friends bringing a paralyzed person to Jesus Christ. Seeing the faith of the four friends, Jesus forgives the friend’s sins (Mark 2:5).
Since last year, we initiated 70 four-member teams to serve our communities and become the hands and feet of Christ. Most of the teams consist of youth and young adults. The teams came together and developed a creative idea and acted upon it. Some of the bands serve our neighborhood by giving out hot coffee and sandwiches to day laborers waiting to be picked up for the day. Some put together 'hygiene packets' and hand them out to the homeless, some commit to teaching Sunday School, some find ways to encourage and empower women, and some bands have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.
I recall that one of the teams came back from their ‘mission’ with tears in their eyes. The team’s plan was to give out winter essentials wherever they found people in need and also pray for them. After giving a package and offering a prayer, one elderly homeless woman asked if she could pray for them. This came as an unexpected surprise to the team. This homeless woman asked everyone to hold hands and she prayed for them with such blessed words that all of the team members began to cry on those cold Manhattan streets. The team received far more blessing than what they had to offer.
There is a mystery of this great blessing and joy: “The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) The ultimate blessing which allows us to flow blessings unto others.
Editor's Note: Rev. Chongho James Kim is the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Flushing, NY. This reflection is part of a Lenten series about public art and faith. You can read the Ash Wednesday reflection on a piece of art by Ndume Olatushani here.