Ceiling Tile Art- An Overdue Look

Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in FEATURED, Godprints, SS-kids | 0 comments

Hallways.  You don’t think much about them.  When you enter a hallway you need to get somewhere.  Your mind’s on where you need to go and on what you need to do.  You’re looking ahead or looking down. 

But have you ever looked up and noticed the ceiling tiles???

Years ago (around 2010- shortly after our new church building opened in 2007), our Sunday School took on an art project.  The students used colored paint and bare ceiling tiles to depict scenes from the Bible.  The result was a series of 8 tiles in the 2nd floor hallway of our Educational Wing which tell the story of our faith from creation to the Resurrection.   The tiles are still there.

And yet- even after all these years- how many people have walked under this artwork without even noticing it?

 

 

 

Details about the Ceiling Tile Project

WHEN:  2009-20010

WHO:   Each tile was created by a group of 5-10 Sunday School students and one teacher.  The kids in each group ranged from 3rd grade to 8th grade.

WHY:    The classes were studying a particular portion of scripture.   During the art rotation of the semester, they reinforced their learning by creating an artistic expression of the story.  These “artistic expressions” are still adorning our 2nd floor hallway…

HOW LONG:  Each tile took at least 3 weeks to complete.

SIMILAR PROJECTS:  Some guy named Michelangelo created his own version of ceiling tile art many years ago…

 

 

 

A Closer Look

Ceilings.  You probably don’t pay much attention to them as long as they’re doing their job.  As long as there’s no water leaking through them and as long as the tiles aren’t stained, you’ll probably never notice them.  But the ceiling in our 2nd floor hallway tells us a story that’s worth noticing.  In fact, the story they tell is the only path to living a fulfilled life in harmony with our Creator. 

The following pictures remove the ceiling and let us take a closer look at each tile and at the story of the hallway.  Let’s take a walk…

 

Tile 1:    Adam & Eve—————————————————————

As you walk down the hallway, the first tile you see is the scene which is at the core of our current relationship with God.  Adam and Eve didn’t only eat an an apple, they decided to defy God. This act broke something at the root of what we were created for.  It not only pushed us out of the Garden of Eden, it pushed us away from the purpose that God designed us to have.

 

Tile 2:  Noah’s Ark————————————–

The next tile shows us God’s righteousness and His love. 

Righteousness– In order to have a perfect relationship with Him, we must be “perfect”… complete in Him.  But people have yielded to the temptation to be complete only in themselves.  So God had to judge the rebellion by sending the flood  (Genesis 6-9).

Love–  But God didn’t give up on us.  Through one righteous man, Noah, He saved a remnant of humanity.  And He promised a continual reminder of His love by placing a rainbow in the sky within the storms of life.

 

Tile 3:  Moses and The Exodus————————-

After the flood, God methodically built a nation which would follow Him. Starting with Abraham and continuing through Joseph, He built a nation through which His Messiah could come.

Part of the growing pains came during the period of slavery in Egypt.  But God’s purpose wouldn’t be thwarted. 

Through Moses, a Hebrew child saved by an Egyptian princess, God freed His people, gave them His Law, and led them into the Promised Land.

 

A closer look at tile #3… 

These tiles are designed so that you can see images as you walk in either direction.  So, when you stand under a tile, some of the pictures are upside down.  Use the “<Previous” and “Next>” buttons in this slider to get a closer look at each image…

Moses is Saved

Pharoah wanted to kill all of the Hebrew firstborn, but Moses’ mother hid her baby in a basket and floated him across the Nile River.

Pharaoh’s daughter rescued this baby and raised him as her own.  Because of his royal position, God could later use Moses to free His people.

God Calls Moses 

God usually speaks to us in small quiet ways, but sometimes He does big things in our lives to get our attention.

For Moses, God started a fire in a bush, called Moses to Him, and told him what He was going to empower Moses to do.  (Exodus 3).

Moses asked God, “If they ask what Your Name is, what should I tell them?”  God answered “I Am who I Am.”   The Hebrew word for LORD.

The Plague of Frogs

God told Moses to storm into Pharoah’s throne room and TELL him to “Let My People Go!!!”A pretty daunting task.  But, God doesn’t ask any of us to do anything on our own.

In order to convince Pharoah, God sent series of plagues.  One of the first plagues filled the whole country with frogs (Exodus 8)

The Plague Against Livestock

God showed the the mighty Egyptians that even they were dependent on God.  Even their wealth wasn’t enough to let them stand by themselves.  Everything they- and we- have totally comes from God.

So, in Exodus 9, God hit them in their “pocketbook” by destroying their donkeys, cattle, sheep, and goats.

The Plague of Boils

Things were getting uncomfortable for the Egyptians.  After plaguing their wealth, God sent festering boils that broke out on all men and animals.  This is described in Exodus 9:8-12

We depend on God for our livelihoods and for our health.  And yet, sometimes we persist in the illusion that we don’t need Him at all.

The Passover

We depend on God for life itself.  And one of the most valuable strands of life we have is our children. 

The final plague is described in Exodus 12:1-29.  A Plague killed all of the firstborn males.  But God spared Hebrew families which sacrificed a lamb and painted the blood on their doorframes.  Years later, God sent His Son to be our Passover Lamb and saved us.  

The Ten Commandments

After the Hebrews left Egypt, God led them to Mt. Sinai where He renewed His covenant with them by giving them the Law.  The Law not only brought people to obedience, it also brought them into a restored relationship with God by showing how dependent the were on Him.  The Ten Commandments are described in Exodus 20:1-17.

Years later, Jesus came to fulfill the Law.  We couldn’t and can’t live perfect lives, but Jesus lived one for us so that we could be the people God created us to be.

Moses Appears with Jesus

Moses was one of God’s “greatest prophets,” but he was only part of a long plan.  God’s intention was always to undo the brokenness that separated God from Man in the Garden of Eden. 

Matthew 17:1-13 describes an incident where Moses, Elijah, and Jesus appeared together.  Moses’ life didn’t end outside the Promised Land.  Life with God is eternal, and Moses continues to live in the glory of God’s presence.

 

 

Tile 4:  Old Testament People——————————–

From Joseph and Moses to the Judges and Prophets, God continued to rescue His people from slavery to brokenness.   God developed the Hebrew people so that our King Messiah- Jesus- could come through them.

Through Jesus the “Son of David”, our relationship with God is restored.

 

 

A closer look at Tile #4…

This tile contains several upside down and rotated images.  Let’s focus on each one (use the “<Previous” and “Next>” buttons to scroll through each scene)…

Joseph

This son of the patriarch Jacob was sold into Egyptian slavery by his 11 jealous brothers.  His brothers meant it for evil, but God used this situation for good.  Years later, Joseph become Pharaoh’s top advisor, and God used him to save the Hebrew people from a famine.  Joseph’s story begins in Genesis 37.

Moses

After Joseph’s time, the Hebrews remained in slavery in Egypt.  But God continued to have plans for His people.  Moses, a Hebrew adopted by a princess, escaped to the wilderness where God  gave him the task of leading His people out of Egypt.  Later, God choose Moses to be the one to receive His Law on Mt. Sinai.  Moses’ story begins in Exodus chapter 1.

Samson

After the people reached the promised land, they forgot about God.  So God raised up a series of judges who defended the nation from armed attacks and led the people back to God.

Samson was a flawed person, but God was able to use him anyway.  See Judges 13-16.

Jonah

After the  Judges, God gave the nation kings and prophets.  But the people continued to reject God, and it got to the point to where He had no choice but to use the Assyrians eject His people from the Promised land.    Before that could happen, God sent Jonah to the Assyrian capital (Nineveh) and the Assyrians repented and turned to the true God.

Jonah didn’t want to do this, but a “big fish” brought him to his senses.

Daniel

After Judah was exiled to Babylon, God used Daniel to give His message to the Babylonian kings, Hebrew people, and to us.   Daniel refused to worship the king, was thrown into a Lion’s den, but God saved him. 

Daniel’s unrelenting faith and inspired message still speak to us today.  His story is told in the book of Daniel.

Esther

During their captivity in Babylon, God continued to protect His people.  Esther was a Jew, but she was chosen by the king to be his queen.   At great risk to herself, she revealed her identity and persuaded the king to take action against a plot to destroy the Hebrew people. 

God used Esther to save the nation through which our Savior would come.  Her story is told in the book of Esther.

 

 

 

 

 

Tile 5:  Christmas- The Birth of the Messiah———————————

God’s plan continued when His Son came to the earth.  The Son of God was fully human and fully God; nobody like Him has ever or will ever walk the earth.

The Christmas story is so familiar.  But like these tiles that we keep walking under without noticing, it’s so easy to take Christmas for granted.  Jesus didn’t have to come.  But because God loved us so much, He did come.

 

 

A closer look at Tile #5…

Depending on the direction you’re walking in, 2-3 images on this tile will be upside down.  Let’s focus on each one (use the “<Previous” and “Next>” buttons to scroll through each scene)…

Luke 2:10

God’s purpose was always to reunite Himself to His people by giving them a savior.  Through the Hebrew people, Jesus (fully God and fully Man) entered humanity and gave us the pathway for a restored relationship with our Creator.

In Luke 2:10-11, an angel announces the good news to some unexpecting shepherds.

Stable- Shepherds

The shepherds (some of the least regarded people of the day), were among the first to receive the good news.  They hurried to Bethlehem to find the Baby in the stable. 

See Luke 2:15-20.  God used these lowly shepherds to spread the word.

Stable- Angels

The birth of Jesus was a holy moment.  God had been planning this birthday for centuries.  Somehow, God became a human and entered the world as a baby.  The disciple John told us that this Baby contained the Word; the very essence of God’s character and power which spoke the world into existence was born in a feeding trough.

Heaven broke out into total praise, but the people of earth didn’t even notice.

Stable

The greatest moment in human history came about through a common couple who were forced to give birth to their first son in a cave. 

The people in Bethlehem were all occupied with their business of finding a place to stay, registering in the Roman Census, and then returning home as quickly as possible.  But above them, all of heaven was celebrating the salvation of humanity.

Wise Men

When the Hebrews were in Babylon, God used Daniel to teach the eastern “wise men.”  Years later, these Magi knew that a King was being born in Bethlehem.  Many of them (more than 3) followed a star that led them to an unnoticed stable in Bethlehem. 

Because they were searching, they joined with the angels in recognizing the holy moment.

 

 

Tile 6:  The Miracles of Jesus————————————-

The Son of God somehow squeezed Himself into a human being and took on our weaknesses.  And yet, in a mysterious way that we may never fully understand, this Man was able to grasp the power of our Creator God. 

Jesus healed the sick, multiplied food, calmed storms, and walked on the water.

 

 

Tile 7:  The Feeding of the 5000——————————–

The next tile illustrates only one event, but this event occurred several times in the Bible.

Matthew 14:13-21 tells us that Jesus turned 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish into a meal that fed over 5000 people.  In the next chapter (Matthew 15:29-39) He does the miracle again; 7 loaves and “a few small fish” were used to feed over 4,000 people.  These were separate incidences

Elijah did the same thing!  In 2 Kings 4:32-44 Elijah fed 100 men with 20 loaves of bread- and there were leftovers!

Reflections of one of the Sunday School Teachers who made the above tile…

“The loaves and the fishes panel was a basket of fish that I roughy drew and the children traced their own hands reaching into the basket. Then they traced their drawings, along with my rough drawing of the basket and the fish. We added color to the hands and arms. Each arm has a name on the bracelet. Those names represent the names of the children who worked on the panel.”

 

 

Tile 8:  Easter- The Resurrection of our Lord——————————–

As you reach the final tile, you encounter the greatest Miracle of all: The Resurrection.  When Adam and Eve made a wrong choice back in the Garden of Eden, rebellion and death entered humanity.  But when Jesus did the unthinkable by dying on a Roman Cross and rising from the dead, God gave us forgiveness and life.

 

 

A closer look at Tile #8…

Palm Sunday

Triumphant kings would lead a procession, riding on a horse or donkey, with the conquered booty and slaves trailing behind him.   When Jesus entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, He entered like a king.  But His victory would not be one of war. The victory was one that God had been planning throughout the ages.  This King would become like the slaves in the back of the parade, and His humble victory is one that would bring peace to humanity throughout the ages. 

Last Supper

The Feast of the Unleavened Bread celebrated the first passover when Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery.  The Passover lamb was slaughtered and its blood painted over the doorways to save people from death.   When Jesus celebrated His last passover meal with His disciples, He demonstrated that He was our Passover Lamb and that we would be offered life in the promised land of His eternal Kingdom.

Arrested

After the meal, Jesus went to a nearby olive grove to pray.  Three of His disciples came with Him, but they fell asleep.  The most significant event in the history of humanity was unfolding before them, but their eyes were closed.

When they awoke, it was too late.  The mob had arrived.  They bound Jesus, and He willingly went with them like a lamb led to slaughter.  The disciples, eyes open with fear, deserted Him.

Crucified

“Without the shedding of blood there’s no forgiveness of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22).  When Adam and Eve noticed that they were naked, God provided garments of skin for them; blood was shed to cover their sin.  The blood and death of Jesus seem like a terrible loss.  But in reality it brought a glorious reconciliation between God and us. The cross is not only a symbol of our faith.  It is the power that God used to restore us.

Risen!

The crucifixion was victory.  It was victory over physical death because Jesus rose from the grave.  It is victory over spiritual death because our Lamb of God undid the curse that fell on all decedents of Adam and Eve.  The resurrection proves that God has total power and that He loves us enough to want to restore our relationship with Him. The resurrection gives us an invitation to live the eternal life of purpose and meaning that God designed us to have.

 

There’s More!

Tucked away inside the Art Room are two additional tiles which were never installed.  One depicts the healing power of our Lord.  Jesus healed people from demons, bleeding, and blindness.  The other tile highlights the power the Jesus had over nature.  He calmed a storm and used a fish to provide payment of the temple tax.

Jesus has the power to heal any of us.  Physical healing is great, but Jesus gives us eternal healing that calms the storms at the core of our souls.

 

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Stop Look and Listen

When you approach a railroad crossing, you’re reminded to “Stop, Look, and Listen.”  If your mind is elsewhere and you breeze through, you’re likely to miss something very important (like the lights of a freight train headed in your direction!).

Unused Bibles… do we have a stack of dusty Bibles on our bookshelf? Like these ceiling tiles, do we walk by them every day without opening ourselves up to their message?  Whether it’s opened Bibles, close friends, circumstances- or even ceiling tiles- God is reaching out to you right now. 

So, we need to slow down and listen.  Instead of focusing on where we’re going or in reminiscing where we’ve been, we need to look for God in the here and now.  “Our God is an Awesome God!”  That’s not just a phrase from a familiar praise chorus.  It’s the truth about a God who has been working out a plan of salvation throughout human history; about the story of a God who has been wooing you to come to Him throughout your life.

Look up.  Slow down and listen.  You might just find yourself connecting with the story of God’s eternal love.

 

 

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