When we look at the animal kingdom, there is no type of large group gathering other than that which is beneficial for the heard or pack - protection, provision, and companionship. There is no public display of anything resembling adoration of an elevated animal status. Animals exist to live, to eat, and to reproduce. They aren’t capable of anything even resembling worship. With Man, however, it is much different. No matter how much modern society tries to get away from our Creator there is still this human desire to worship. Stadiums will fill up with 10’s of thousands to watch a performer, or millions will follow an entertainment icon online. What is it in us that wants to cheer, or be a part of “look up?” Why do we want to connect with something “higher” than where we think we are?
Humanity is different than all other animal life. Scripture says at creation, God “breathed” life into Man. This was a different form of creation than with the animals where He simply “spoke” them into existence. This “Life” is a capacity in humans to relate with or experience a different form of life in this universe - Spirit. This spiritual capacity creates in us an awareness that there is something else, something unseen, which is important to our existence. As if there is a void in us, we look elsewhere - we “look up.” In the world of the spirit, however, there is “Light” and “Darkness” - Truth and deception. There are plenty of spiritual entities who are happy to give man a “line” or two about what to worship and what to think. They have revealed themselves over time by name, or symbol, or religion. Their desire is to keep our focus on them rather than Creator, so they offer power and “enlightenment” in exchange for loyalty.
Jesus once said, “...if these (who were worshiping Him) didn’t, the stones would cry out” - revealing where true worship was to be directed. Another time He told someone, “a time is coming when you will worship neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem” speaking of the tearing down of the local and current religious system (going to a place to offer sacrifices) and introducing us to true worship - when we would “worship in Spirit and in Truth.” He eludes to the heart of man who “seeks” and “knocks” to find this new form of worship in his teachings, and then he dies to make it all possible.
Summer Chapel is all about “looking up” - seeking the mystery - and experiencing the Light. I didn’t set out to portray these concepts, but after finishing, I noticed that even the bear cub is looking up with arms outstretched. Sure, he is fascinated with the fire flies (or lightening bugs as we call them) but he isn’t noticing that they, too, are on a heavenly ascent - following the rays of moon light up to the heavens. Yes, there is darkness all around, but the etherial light points to the delicate mystery, the stained glass adds to the sense of joy, and it all leads us to look up. - Mark Keathley