I remember visiting the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth to view the Methodist Art Collection that was being exhibited. One painting was set in a dimly lit room, among precious Bronte artefacts and it wasn’t until you moved across the room and stood opposite the painting that you noticed it. The effect of the lighting upon it was stunning and breath-taking – it took me completely by surprise and was what I can only describe as a ‘God moment’.
You may remember the painting from your studies last year; “Untitled – Pentecost”. The artist, J Brokenshire, wanted “a sense of a bird hovering” and a dark background was important in providing a contrast to highlight this. Sometimes you have to take a step back to admire a painting. It is then that you can see the full details of the artist’s impression of the subject, the variety of tone and texture, especially if it is an oil painting such as this one. How do we see pictures in the Bible? Accounts throughout the Bible fire our imagination and place us in the story. The book of Genesis gives us a picture of God’s creation through the use of words.
Jesus spoke to people in ways they could understand by using ‘picture language’ (see Matthew 5: 14-16 “you are the light of the world…”). There is a lot of imagery in the Bible – the book of Revelation is particularly vivid and descriptive. If we had to paint a picture of our church, what style would it be in? What material would we use? What story would we want to tell? What would be in the detail? Would anyone be able to understand it? As we approach Lent, let’s step back and intentionally observe the ‘picture language’ around us.
What do we say to others about our church? How welcoming are we? Are there ways in which we can support each other? Where does Christ’s light shine? What do we say about our discipleship in Christ? Of his offering on the cross and the joy of his resurrection? Take a moment to ‘look at the painting’ and to study the detail – look for the stories that are being told around us and in our community. You may be surprised by a ‘God-moment’!
When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. StF 287 Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Rev. Ann Fox