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Every life is a journey from life to death. We partake in the fullness of our own journey but we can only glimpse moments of the journeys of others. Jesus’ journey to the cross began long before he was betrayed and continued long after he rose from the dead. During the season of Lent, Christians reflect on the Scriptural Way of the Cross leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus experienced the journey, we asked artists to capture glimpses of these moments.
While the Bible presents the literal interpretation of these events, the themes of Sacrifice, Submission, Self-Preservation, Loyalty, Lament, and Condemnation are felt by everyone, even today. For the Perspectives on the Passion art show, artists of all backgrounds brought their perspectives on these six themes. Additionally, because Jesus rose from the dead three days later, pieces that fit into the themes of Hope and Restoration are also included.
— Here is how it works —
For the week leading up to Easter and the week following it, use the art posted here to reflect on some of the moments and themes identified in Jesus’ journey. Some are specific to what Jesus experienced and some are more focused on the roles others played. Others encapsulate the timeless concepts that connect these events to our everyday lives. Meditate on how you see them in your own life or in the lives of those around you.
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While most world conflicts are more complex than the singular event that ignited them, there’s still usually one moment that acts as the catalyst for the wars that follow. It’s usually the point where the downtrodden say, “I’ve had enough!” These moments are molded by a hope that rising up will result in a better life and that peace can be restored to a world filled with unrest. Hope is a driving factor for people to act. Entropy states that everything should bow to chaos but humans resist this statement as they try to restore order to the universe. Hope is not a passive emotion, it is an active belief that things can always be better. That the past can be restored. What do you hope for? What do you want to see restored? What are you doing about it?
Defiance by Dylan Walsh
Artist Statement: This piece is meant to depict a fist raised in defiance. I was destined to die, but Jesus defied that and died in my place so that I could live. The fist is Jesus’ fist nailed to the cross.
- Hand in Hand
Our loyalties are strings attached to our lives. They define our priorities and mold our decision making. We don’t often think about the puppets we’ve become until one of these strings of loyalty is pulled tight. As we resist our better judgment, we find our logic influenced by loyalties to ways of living that aren’t healthy to our physical, mental, or spiritual being. We reach out for help but always find ourselves coming up short because we’re chained to something we shouldn’t be. It takes great effort to break the chains of loyalty and forge new connections. However, in the same way that our negative loyalties can drag us down, do our positive loyalties lift us up? Do they protect us from our baser instincts? The next time you face a tough decision, ask yourself, “What loyalties am I serving here?”
Hand in Hand by Lena Lane
Artist Statement: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” -Romans 8:35
His hand is always reaching out for our hand, we have only to reach up and take His.
- Stung, 911, Judged, Luke 23
What’s the greatest sacrifice you’ve ever had to endure? Did you have to move across the country to take care of an elderly parent? Did you have to give up a lucrative career to support your spouse? Have you spent thousands of dollars bailing out a child who won’t give you the time of day? All of these examples revolve around the idea that we’d sacrifice a lot more for our family than we would for strangers. Going even further, we’d likely sacrifice something to help our friends as well. But strangers? Jesus said that “even the least of these” is worthy of our attention. Are they also worthy of our sacrifice? Would you give your home to the homeless? Would you give all your money to the poor? Would you die so that those you’ve never met could live?
Stung, 911, Judged, Luke 23
by Gay Houghtaling
Artist Statement: As I read the themes of this Perspectives Arts event, I was reminded of poems I have written over the years. Each poem and accompanying object represent both human struggle with current struggles and grief, as well as Christs’ journey and sacrifice.
Stung (bee stinger looking object), 911 (bronze hands), Judged (scale), Luke 23 (Bible)
- Letting Go
There’s a fine line between obedience and submission. Both look the same in their results, but only one has the right attitude behind it. Societies are founded on obedience, whereas rebellions are grown from submission. Obedience asks kindly and the proper response is to obey cheerfully. Submission isn’t asking. Often, we find ourselves at odds with submitting to authority. They’ll tell us to do things one way, even if we would much rather do them our own way. The problem with resisting authority is the consequences that would result from this action (or inaction). The one wrinkle in all this is, while Jesus submitted himself to be crucified by the authorities of the Earth, he did so in obedience to his heavenly Father. So ask yourself: can submission to authority also be obedience to God?
Letting Go by Cindy Meinert
Artist Statement: For Lent this year, God asked me to give up some very hard things. That submission initially felt heavy and fear filled, but in submitting to God I found freedom and peace. Even beyond that, I experienced growth and new life. To me these works attempt to represent my transition – struggling to submit to God, understanding the freedom submission brings, and finally the growth true submission allows.
- The Jesus Balloon
The status quo is a nasty beast. Not only does it cause us to become numb to any opportunities that might lift us higher, but it can provoke jealousy in those who see others succeeding above the baseline. How often do we find ourselves conforming to what’s “popular” just so we can fit in with the crowd? It’s easy to “punch up” when we’re gossiping about those more successful than ourselves, but what would it look like if we took that same energy in lifting everyone else up? The status quo feasts on averages. Sure, there are some above average and some below, but it’s easier if everyone was just “average.” Are we ashamed of rising above or falling below the status quo? If we don’t want to stand out, what do we do to preserve ourselves in this lukewarm state?
The Jesus Balloon by Meg Shaver
Artist Statement: Just like Pontius Pilot made the easy choice of keeping the crowd happy and maintaining the status quo, so do people today. We all have our little balloons (life) filled with whatever helium we put in them. We keep them about the same size and height as other and go on down the road. It’s safe. If we were to rise above then, we risk someone in the crowd trying to take us down. There will always be someone. But there will also be those that cheer us on and those that just don’t even notice. None of that should matter. What should matter is filling our balloons with Jesus helium and keeping our focus there – no matter what the outcome.