Grace Graffiti

By:  Jana Greene

  It is Monday. Although rainy days and Mondays don’t always bring me down, there is a tendency to feel a sense of let-down on the first work day of the week.  Sunday mornings have eclipsed  Friday and Saturday nights as the highlight of my week these days, maybe because I’m getting older, but mostly because I attend a church I look forward to attending.  It is full of people like me: broken but crazy in love with Jesus.  The worship is wild and the message is radical, and I leave feeling….vibrant. .  Technicolor.  No matter how washed-out I felt as I took my seat in the sanctuary, I am renewed when I leave the building.

                But now it’s Monday.  I can already feel the monotony moving in…the ho-hum.

                In an effort to revive my enthusiasm, I picked up my Bible. In the interest of being honest, I don’t always pick up my Bible when I am feeling blah; usually, I try to comfort myself with any number of things (music and chocolate are high on the list).   But I’m (slowly) learning to identify what void needs a fill-up and the appropriate remedy to fill it.

I read a translation that makes clear the message – a translation called “The Message”.  Today in Psalms 17:6-7, I read:

”I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.

So, answer!  Bend your ear!  Listen sharp!

Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;

Take in your frightened children, who

Are running from neighborhood bullies

Straight to you!”

Grace graffiti?   Pure poetry. 

About a year ago, I was lucky enough to accompany my oldest daughter on a class Chorus trip to New York City.  As a chaperone having three seventeen-year-old girls in my room, there was a tremendous sense of responsibility.  As a mother, life-long memories were made with my child in The Big Apple.  As a tourist?  Pure amazement was the order of the day, four days in a row – starting with the bus ride from LaGuardia Airport to our hotel in Manhattan.

My daughter had never been to the big city, and I hadn’t been since childhood.  As we bumped along on the ride, the driver attempted his tired monologue of landmarks as we passed them, but nearly every kid (and chaperone) on the bus was talking simultaneously.  Alexandra and I could not point fast enough to all of the things we were seeing.  As we moved from the more “colorful” parts of town into New York City proper, we saw what I had only witnessed in movies and pictures:  Graffiti.  Real New York Graffiti.  “Wow….” Alexandra and I said together when we saw it.

The surprising thing about graffiti, it is so full of color.  The structures surrounding it were gray and drab, but the art on so many surfaces were bright.  Huge paintings of reds, blues, yellows and greens – with every shade between.  The sheer size of each was baffling, drawing the eye and demanding attention.

And another thing about it, it’s as illegible as it is illegal. The images are universally understood, but the letters may as well be Egyptian hieroglyphics….. Something only the person – or gang – who crafted it would understand – frightened children and neighborhood bullies, all.   Although the intent was to deface property, most of the murals were beautiful, in truth.  A bright protest of the ‘ho-hum”, they relayed the message:  Make no mistake Who was here.

What does “grace graffiti” look like?  The grace of Christ, not as a Sunday morning phenomenon, but as a testimony?

I want a Technicolor faith walk, but I don’t want to be a billboard that only other Christians can decipher.  I struggle with the implications of voicing the desire for it….. graffiti, no matter how society views it, is an honest and raw statement.  Shouldn’t a life covered in graffiti of grace say to the world:  Make no mistake, He was here?

Broken, but crazy in love with Jesus.

Vibrant.  Even on a rainy days and Mondays.


4 thoughts on “Grace Graffiti

  1. Brutally honest! I don’t want to be a billboard that only other Christians can decipher either! and I am struggling with a bully in my life. Thanks for the words of inspiration!


  2. Oh Jana! I LOVE the way you write! I can ‘see’ all you say!! And Can sooo relate regarding church! Write on Sista, write On!


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