Jesus at the Beach

Randy Hofman is a sculptor … of beach sand.  His subject is not the commonplace castle, though; instead, he creates elaborate Bible-based scenes, and has been doing so for the last 30+ years.  His studio/gallery is the beach in front of the Plim Plaza Hotel just off of Ocean City, Maryland’s boardwalk at Second Street.  It was at that spot in 1974 that Hofman made a personal commitment to follow Jesus.

Jesus sand sculptureHofman, now 59, sculpts every day from April to October.  Youth from Son’Spot, a local church ministry, excavate the sand piles for him, and the hotel owners supply him with water to keep the sand moist, as well as with electricity to keep the sculptures well-lit at night.  After shaping the pile the way he wants it using a shovel, a trowel, and a plastic crab picking knife, Hofman then sprays the sculpture with a special glue-and-water mixture, which holds the sculpture intact for up to several weeks.  Most of the sculptures take five to seven hours to complete—with the exception of his Last Supper, which can take up to 17 hours. 

The majority of passersby respond with awe and respect—or at the very least, amusement.  Some people kneel and pray.  Others snap pictures of the giant sand works.  Some ask questions, which Hofman loves, as it gives him the opportunity to share the gospel message.  Only very rarely have people tried to vandalize the sculptures, and even then, they are met with open hostility from those who have come to love and appreciate what Hofman does.

Jesus sand sculpture by Randy HofmanJesus sand sculpture by Randy HofmanJesus sand sculpture by Randy Hofman

Hofman always writes simple messages to accompany the sculptures, like “Wise men still seek him,” or “God loves us all.”  “The messages show people that God is reaching out to us,” Hofman said.  “They have to be short and simple so people can easily read and understand them … like a billboard.”  For the inquisitive, Hofman keeps on hand stacks upon stacks of 32-page gospel tracts.  He averages 50,000 takers each summer.

What a unique ministry!  Just imagine those unsuspecting Spring Breakers, stumbling down the beach and chancing upon a giant Jesus face in the sand.  Or all those kids who ask their parents, “Daddy, Daddy, who is that?” or “What does that mean?”  I pray that God continues to bless Randy in his work and to reveal himself to others through it.

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