The painter had stepped away for a few moments, leaving the work to sit in the air. Her representation of reality was exposed to anyone who happened to walk by with a camera. The expression of her artist's eye, the most personal of gifts given by her Creator, a manifestation of the intimate inner-workings of her creative impulse: laid bare for the casualest observer's intrusion. I felt a bit like an interloper, an invading force, a violator of a private space.
But I also felt a great sense of wonder at the vulnerability of the painter away from her easel. Was she not frightened that her creation would be vandalized, or perhaps knocked over by a sudden strong gust of wind? What a risk she took! What trust; what strength of character! She had put her idea out there in the middle of the sidewalk and then stepped away, allowing anyone at all to make anything they wanted out of it.
Kind of like a preacher, isn't it? A preacher pours out the innermost depth of her soul into every phrase of her sermon. A preacher studies, looks, prays, listens, studies some more, then lays bare her representation of reality for the congregation who has come to worship. Bold colors, subtle brush strokes, the interplay of light and shadow, all are painted onto the sermon's canvas with the skill and passion of a creative mind and an artist's eye. The most personal gift given by the preacher's Creator, exposed to the casualest of observers.
Then she steps away. Tired and sweating, she leaves the sermon there in the middle of the sidewalk, where malicious vandal or errant gust of wind may find it. What a risk she took! What trust! The preacher cannot guard with jealousy every jot and tittle of sermonic pronouncement. She must step away, and allow the words to sit in the air.
Maybe someone will come by with a camera.
Then again, maybe not.
Then the painting is gone, and the preacher gets started on the next.