Friday, April 07, 2006

I've Just Ruined Another Pair Of Jeans

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) God made something we could hold.

As a person who makes art, I find great inspiration in those words. Not only did Christ decide to walk around with us, broken humans that He loved desperately, but that statement also proves that God is an artist. His art was made of flesh; it was Jesus. People call this the “Incarnation.”

The story of God is told throughout history in so many ways. The Bible tells the story of God from the very beginning and His story continues into the future. This story tells of the God who loves His creation, which includes all of us, and He sent His Son, to us. People tell the story of God with their lives, in sermons, through books, and with their prayers.

Historically, artists would render the story of God through their work. Certain eras of time found art as the primary medium for telling of God. During the Renaissance period, most people could not read. Artists illustrated the story of God by painting chapels, reflecting it on canvasses, and carving statutes we can still travel and see. Each time a sojourner sees the art, he or see visually can understand the redemptive story of God.

Since the early Christian church, artists have created a prayer path that reflects the journey of Jesus from the Garden to the grave. They say you can still walk “The Stations of the Cross” while visiting Israel. Many Protestants calls this “The Way of the Cross.”

This year, I am participating in “The Way of the Cross” in Conyers. My assignment: create a piece of art that tells the story of the agony in the garden. My art must reflect Jesus’ prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. The weight of this project burdened me for weeks. My past projects included subjects such as flowers in a vase, leaves floating in water, a sunset at the beach, and cherry blossom trees.

Can our limited imaginations and trembling hands paint the story of Jesus?

The other artists found themselves in the same struggle. One artist is illustrating through stained glass the followers of Jesus laying Him in a tomb. Another spent the week searching for vines and thorns to make a crown of thorns. They asked questions that we could not ever answer. “How can I paint the face of Jesus on the cross?” “Whose perspective do we see His death from—those in the crowd, God in Heaven, the thief on the cross beside Him?” Creating the artwork forced us as artist to dwell on the life of Christ and tell about Him through our work. It was horrifying and magnificent.

This piece of art wore my fingernails thin and my jeans are speckled with green, grey, orange, and red. It will not sell for millions or hang in a museum; however, God taught me about inspiration through it. I read the prayer in the garden over and over and over. The words are carved on my heart. After praying and asking for the image, I dipped my brush in the paint.
Throughout time, artists moved through this same process. Songwriters travel through it when they create an original score. Preachers use this process when writing a sermon. God continues to tell His story through art He makes with our hands, our words, our lives.

What story does your life tell?

“The Way of the Cross” Prayer Path at Conyers First United Methodist Church (921 Main Street in Olde Town Conyers) will be open Monday, April 10, through Wednesday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is open to the public. You are also invited to "Holy Week, The Passion of Christ":, April 13-April 15 at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Music Ministry. Admission is free but seating is limited, contact the church office to reserve tickets (770-483-4236).


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