Friday, April 21, 2017

The Font In My Garage

Copyright © Edward Riojas

In case you haven’t yet noticed, I’m not normal. For starters, I’m an artist. I’m also a lefty. Even though I’m a guy, I can’t stand conversations that dwell on National League standings or sports scores of any kind. I’d rather go shopping. And I have a Baptismal font in my garage.

I could, at this point, tell you that I collect odd stuff; that I’m a pack rat; that I’m a hoarder, but I’m not. I will tell you that ever since I got serious about sacred art, I’ve had all manner of requests come to me without much prompting. That is how the font ended up in my garage.

The Baptismal font and its companion – an antique reredos – was lurking in the dusty basement of a parsonage. I’m pretty sure I was the second-to-last option. The last option was a landfill.

It’s a sad fact that finding church homes for old items is extremely difficult. In many cases, the pieces were replaced with newer accoutrements when the church building had a makeover. And because congregations want new furniture for new buildings, old pieces are most often ignored and put into storage until memory loses its dusty grip.

Through a not-so-normal arrangement, I am going to clean up and reframe the central painting of the reredos for the church that once held the piece. They have a much more magnificent reredos than the original, but the painting has enough historical significance that it belongs back home. In exchange, I will keep the “leftovers.”

The plan is to refurbish the font and reredos frame and, at some point, create an original piece that will hopefully do the old furniture justice. Then I will try to find a home for everything.

But there is a greater reason to stop that trip to the landfill. The Baptismal font simply won’t do for repurposing as a snazzy TV stand or a flower pot or a bird bath. Through that unassuming portal passed a host of The Lord’s own children, newly imprinted with His Name and eagerly welcomed into His Kingdom. For that simple reason, forlorn artifacts such as those populating my garage demand immense respect. The dump is not an option.

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