A Masterpiece Journey to Easter

I’m crazy excited about Lent this year . . . which is weird for someone who grew up hating Lent.

At Holy Cross we are going to juxtapose great art masterpieces and the Bible.

America is shifting from a culture of verbal communication to a culture in which visual communication and art dominate. A generation (or two) ago, orators were celebrated and recited:
Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”
John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask….” (You can probably fill in the rest.)

Today our common memories are visually based, such as 9/11:

In this new reality, how do we invite people to consider Jesus? How do we tell the good news of Jesus in and beyond words?

Try some counsel from a post-modern thinker (150 years ago):
“Try to understand the essence of what the great artists, the serious masters, are saying in their masterpieces, you will recognize God in this. One has written or said it in a book, the other in a painting.” -Vincent van Gogh

Our starting framework is God’s Word on Canvas, 6 sessions on Bible-inspired art by Jim Eichenberger, Joe Garland and Cindy Garland. Ash Wednesday and each Wednesday of Lent we will invite a master artist to focus our attention on Scripture:

van Gogh: Hope in an asylum, Still Life with Bible and Raising Lazarus, Isaiah 53
Caravaggio: Faith in the middle of doubt, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, John 20
Rembrandt: Humility in the spotlight of glory, Self-Portrait as the Apostle Paul, Acts 22
Vermeer: Experiencing Christ in an overbusy world, Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, Luke 10
Van Dyck: God’s strength when we need it most, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, John 14
Tintoretto: Jesus at the center of history and of your life, The Last Judgment, Revelation 20

Lent is not a packaged, neat product. Lent is a lab exploration. What should I do to make this art-Bible lab transformational for people?

In March, we’re linking Academy Award movies and the weekly psalm. See Oscar’s Favorite Movies & God’s Favorite Songs.

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About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Bible, Church, communication, culture, Ojai Valley, public square, theology, worship and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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