Unusual Art Provides Fresh Insight into Lent

Post a Comment » Written on March 20th, 2007     
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PORTLAND, OR (March 20, 2007) – Worshipers at First Covenant Church are experiencing Lent and art in a fresh way this season.

ArtA painting designed to connect with the Lenten sermon series is slowly revealed as portions of a covering are stripped away, says Matt Anderson, pastor of worship and arts.

The covering features Celtic crosses painted on butcher paper, and the painting, which includes images from classical artwork, is done in acrylics. The images are tied to the words of Jesus in the upper room as recorded in the Gospel of John.

The congregation’s Sacred Space committee designed the artwork beginning in February. “We were trying to think of a simple, but useful way of using art without having to explain it to people.”

Two professional artists who attend the congregation worked for two weeks to complete the project. Martha Chatelain created the covering that is stripped away each week, and Carol Sands did the painting that is revealed.

The painting is supported by an easel and is 45 inches wide and 65 inches tall, Cooper says. The dimensions, he adds, work perfectly for the congregation, which averages between 150 and 175 attendees each week.

“The response has been really good,” Anderson says. “Many of the people are looking at art and asking for the first time, ‘what does it say to me,’ rather than just ‘what does it mean.’ ”

Using art enhances the ability of people to experience the gospel, says Anderson, explaining, “We don’t just learn audibly – we also learn visually.

“There is also symbolism with the stripping away of layers each week,” Anderson continues. “As we walk through this season of Lent, we see what is revealed in our own lives as we peel away those things that we have left behind.”

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