Lectionary Year A
February 7, 1999
Matthew 5:13-20

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge

Used by permission from Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit by Merle G. Franke.

From Basement to Craft Fairs

      Doris was most comfortable when she was busy at work in her secluded spot in the basement of her parents' home. She had been born with a deformed left arm which wasn't of much use to her; hence, she had chosen not to participate in sports nor in the school band. But she had studied art and in that she excelled. Her quiet personality stemmed partly from her physical impairment and partly because she hadn't received much encouragement to excel in anything.
      But she did have her little workshop in the basement, where she spent a good deal of her time. She cherished the hours spent there because she was doing the one thing she felt confident she could do well - painting. Yet even her parents weren't much aware of - nor appreciative of - her growing artistic ability.
      During her last two years in high school and the two years following graduation, she devoted increasing time to oil and acrylic still life paintings. As she looked out of the basement half windows at the familiar Wisconsin countryside, she captured ever more vividly the seasonal changes and the varieties that nature offered. The completed unframed canvasses were standing in ever thickening rows beyond her little nook in the basement. Doris' secret talent was clouded by only one fact - she was the only person who knew about it.
      That is, until her favorite cousin Denise came to visit. Denise was quite the opposite of Doris - a bubbly personality, outgoing and adventurous. She hadn't seen Doris since her high school graduation and now Denise had come to spend a week with her. Doris would not have shown her cousin all those canvasses stacked in the basement, but Denise's inquisitive nature soon led her to the dozens of paintings that stood facing the walls.
      "Doris, where did these paintings come from?" Denise asked, remembering that Doris had taken a few art classes in high school. "Did you do this wonderful work?" Denise asked with her hands on her hips.
      '"They're nothing special," Doris tried to apologize.
      "Wrong! They're marvelous!" Denise argued. She spent the next half hour quickly going through one stack after another, while Doris stood by a bit embarassed. "Doris, you need to get these paintings out where people can see them and buy them," Denise pleaded. "People will buy good paintings like these."
      Doris demurred, offering timid apologies for the paintings and her talent. But Denise would have none of it. "There's arts and crafts shows everywhere during these summer months, and I'm going to help you get these paintings out where people can see them," Denise challenged. And for the next few weeks there was no stopping Denise. She extended her visit beyond her original plans. "I don't have a job yet anyway for the summer," she rationalized. "I want you to sign your name to every one of these paintings," she instructed Doris.
      After four weekend arts and crafts shows, more than two dozen of Doris' paintings had been sold. As she and Denise headed back to Doris' home on a Sunday evening, Doris reflected the warmth of her feelings as she admitted, "I guess people do like my stuff."
      "Well, like I said, you have to get it out where people can see it," Denise commented as she gave her cousin a hug.

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