I emailed my friend, Phrene, to see if she could take a couple of pictures of me after Bible study. I needed a shot of just me, and told her I could bring my camera; it would only take a few minutes. She emailed back and said sure, but she’d prefer to just use her camera, since she’s familiar with it.

So the next day after Bible study, I was chatting with a friend, when I saw Phrene exit to the parking lot. I wondered if she had forgotten, but a moment later, she returned with a giant rolling suitcase in tow.

I had to laugh. I knew she was a professional photographer, but I wasn’t expecting her to be my professional photographer. She downplayed the suitcase, and pulled out the biggest camera I’ve ever seen. She asked me to hold it (which I did with both hands!) while she searched for a suitable chair for me to sit in.

I admit that I’m the one who first spotted the pretty black and white floral chair in the pastor’s office. But I didn’t think it was an option. Phrene did think it was an option, and was soon carrying it past the secretary and out of the building. I could sense her inner photographer emerging.

When we got outside, I looked around. All I saw were some bushes, cinder block walls, and a parking lot. But Phrene saw a barn. A big red barn, way across the parking lot and through a mushy field. So she picked up the chair and headed that way. She said, “No big deal. I do this stuff all the time!”

Then, she had me sit in the pretty chair in front of the cool looking barn, and had me turn this way and that way, catching the angles of light just so. Click, click, click. I’d turn my chin a bit or tilt my head and she’d say, “Yes! That’s it!” Click, click, click.

Now, I would have been satisfied to sit in our Bible study room and say, “Cheese!” But Phrene is an artist. She pushes open doors and carries chairs into fields. She looks beyond the mundane and… there it is! Art.

Most people think God is only interested in what happens inside the church. But God is an artist. He’s the one who created art in the first place. And while his greatest ‘subjects’ are the church people he has redeemed and redesigned, his artistic eye and quest for beauty never stops. When God pushes open the  door, he sees a canvas beckoning… just beyond the church parking lot.

PS. You can find Phrene at www.phrene.com.

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