California artist Mandy Bankson responds to the theme of "Strangers" and Hebrews 13:2.
2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
I chose this passage, on the theme of Strangers, because of an experience I had many years ago. Coming out of anesthesia after a major surgery, there were several nurses around my gurney, looking down at me. When I saw them, I saw each person as an individual gift. Their skin was like wrapping paper holding an extremely precious and unique treasure inside. I believe I was given a glimpse of what God sees when he looks at us with Love. God sees first not our faults and weaknesses, but our beauty, our creation in His image. This theme and this verse in particular, allowed me to honor the spiritual experience I had 20 years ago that continues to affect the way I see people around me. So much of each of us is hidden. And in what is hidden there is often a treasure to be discovered. We are called as God’s friends, to be hospitable to that stranger, no matter who they are. Sometimes that is not easy; sometimes it is. But we are reminded in this verse of the mystery that is lurking when we allow ourselves to enter into God’s kingdom and see as God sees.
Mandy Bankson was born in rural Indiana. Her mother was an artist and Mandy began drawing and painting as a young girl, attracted to patterns and design.. Although art was always on the periphery, she taught Special Education in the San Francisco bay area for many years. After marrying a widower with two young daughters and moving to Santa Rosa, CA , she began to paint more seriously. Mandy paints abstractly inspired by patterns of the natural world. However her most recent body of work is an abstract series based on Jacob’s Ladder (Genesis 28:10-18). She started and continues to curate the Gallery at First, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa. She is also involved in the gallery at The Journey Center, a Christ centered community. Mandy is an ARTrails Open Studio artist, and shows in Marin and Sonoma counties: her works are collected locally and internationally. More of her work can be viewed on her website www.mandybankson.net.