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The Louvre is packed

Pastoral Messages | May 30, 2019

The indisputably most-visited museum in the world closed for several days in recent weeks due to an explosion of attendance. The Louvre in Paris is swamped with tourists. More than 10 million people visited last year alone. That’s more than 32,000 guests a day, most of whom are eager to glimpse Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures from the art world. Attendance this year is 26 percent higher than last year. Demoralized by a reduction of staff, employees are revolting over what they describe as “suffocating crowds” and an “unprecedented deterioration of work conditions.”

If an expensive trip to Paris was in your summer plans, local Quad City art enthusiasts have another option. Two young sisters in Bettendorf have been producing very simple homespun art that goes on periodic sale in their driveway. Seven-year-old Katherine gets out her colored markers to make bookmarks. Natalie, 10, her sister with an urge to read every book she can get her hands on, writes quotes for the bookmarks. That’s not all. There’s modern “splatter art” available, which needs no describing. There’s also “scratch art,” with its black oil pastel spread atop colorful oil pastel, just waiting to be scratched by a toothpick. (Remember that medium? You won’t find it in the Louvre.)

These Miller sisters of St. Paul Lutheran Church don’t miss a trick. Their entrepreneurial venture of selling homespun art for the sake of giving all proceeds to area flood victims is entirely their idea. They’ve dropped hand-written flyers in the neighborhood, complete with colorful stars, announcement of hours open, rain check recommendations, and polite words of gratitude for those who take the time to read the flyer or consider a purchase.

Actually, they raised enough money over Memorial Day Weekend to decide on splitting the proceeds between local victims of muddy floodwater and others around the world desperate for clean drinking water (via a World Vision initiative). Katherine’s little cardboard piggy bank from a Junior Achievement class filled up with a whopping $500 over three days, thanks to generous neighbor support and some St. Paul preschool teachers and parents stopping by.

When I was an elementary school kid, I remember sitting at the lonely lemonade stand at the end of our driveway several summer days. Our low-traffic street and a lack of entrepreneurial skill on my part netted nothing more than a couple bucks worth of quarters. I’m freshly disappointed in myself after learning of Natalie and Katherine’s story. If only I had thought of creating homemade art instead of stirring quick-mix lemonade. If only I had shared the proceeds I received instead of keeping them all for myself. If only I had thought with a bit more ingenuity and generosity … the world might be a slightly better place.

9 Comments on “The Louvre is packed”

  • Darla DeVriendt

    May 31, 2019 at 7:46 am

    What a great story from young souls giving so much of themselves and to our community! Very heartfelt! ????

  • Diane Swayne

    May 30, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Very proud of you girls!

  • Vida Luth

    May 30, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    What wonderful young ladies. I would like to know when and where their next sale is. I love art of all kinds, especially art made by caring, sensitive, and giving young ladies.

  • Sheila Mesick

    May 30, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I am filled with joy to hear this story. Thank you dear ladies for your creative efforts and the neighbors that bought artwork.

  • Kathleen Hurty

    May 30, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Plucky and creative young women!!

  • Sand Wright

    May 30, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Good job girls! Such a nice story about your talent and your sharing.

  • Heidi Watkins Lewis

    May 30, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    This story is oozing with love and compassion! Simply. Beautiful.

  • Anne Budde

    May 30, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you for the uplifting story! Joyful photo…..

  • Mark Hurty

    May 30, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Sweet story.

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.