A Glory and Beauty Beyond Words
The truth of the Gospel, of Easter good news, stretches the ability of our language. It feels like words aren’t quite enough to capture the beauty of the good news and all its implications.
We have some new and new-to-us art on display in worship during the Easter season. With the shift from Lent to Eastertide we’ve done away with the purple banners for now and replaced them with banners consisting of four images by the Chinese artist He Qi.The four images are stacked on the two banners, with the baptism of Jesus and the calling of the disciples paired together on one and a depiction of “The Great Commission” and Jesus’ identity as “The Risen Lord” on the other.
With these four images we see something of the scope of Jesus’ earthly, public ministry, beginning with his baptism and concluding with his identity as “Risen Lord” revealed. In the calling and commissioning of Jesus’ disciples we also see something of our part to play, called to Jesus himself and sent out in his name. These two movements to Jesus and out in the world also characterize our weekly worship, where we gather together around Jesus, to be fed by His word and at His table, and are then sent out in the world in peace and mission.
It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words and the above paragraph shows the truth of that. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the depth and beauty of these images. Through Lent we’ve also been displaying a painting in progress by Gina Butler, an artist in our community. This work was displayed in completed form on Easter Sunday and will be up over the next couple of weeks. It is a provocative image, drawing together Easter and Lenten themes of triumph and glory as well as suffering and death. Gina has written this description of the piece. If you get the chance please thank Gina for serving us as a community in her vocation.
In the coming Sundays I encourage you to take a few moments to pay particular attention to these images and consider what details and aspects of them particularly encourage or challenge you. Where do you sense God’s invitation in response to them? One of the gifts of art is the way it helps us to lay hold of and experience truths in a deeper way, and I hope that these works might serve to draw us further up and further into the glory and beauty of the Gospel, a glory and beauty beyond words.
Rejoicing in the beauty of Easter with you,