April 10, 2018

Artful Reflection

We Episcopalians are truly blessed by the liturgical touchstones that help us feel our way through Lent, Easter and the entire year. The reading the Word and its interpretation through creative arts – sculpture, statues, stained glass, and all the smells, bells and glorious music - are truly gifts of our worship tradition.

Given this, it seems fitting that we should replicate some of this artful exuberance in our personal faith journeys. In his latest book, Jesus God Among Us, available at Church Publishing, author and artist Roger Hutchison uses one of his own paintings to inspire reflections about finding Jesus. The painting in its entirety “illustrates the full life of Christ.” Segments of the painting inspire Hutchison’s reflections on Christ’s journey “then,” and where we might find or follow Christ “now.” Each reflection is accompanied by questions for further exploration and prayer.

Many parishes help folks enliven their personal worship and prayer time with art. Bulletin covers may feature works of art to illustrate the Gospel lesson or special day. Links to sources of sacred music appear on some churches’ websites – there are even websites with sources to find royalty-free music. Emmanuel Episcopal Church in LaGrange, Illinois, considers “the arts to be an expression of our ‘co-creator’ relationship with God, and so has placed a “creation space” on its website, providing information about art classes and other activities provided through a partnership with a not-for-profit arts organization.

How might your congregation use its artful gifts to help people enliven their faith journeys with holy reflection using creative arts? If you are already doing so, please add a comment to share your experience with others.