I’ve often heard that religious art was used to teach people the biblical story before the common man, woman, and child could read. That was probably even more true when mass was in Latin, a language most people couldn’t understand. With the story of a faith hidden behind ignorance, lack of education, and systems in power holding close the depths of faith, art became the vehicle by which truth made its way past hardened hearts and shattered the powers holding truth tight.
Truth is unveiled in the ancient art. In the “swaddled” baby laying in a manger lying with open arms, ready to embrace all of humanity. Truth is unveiled in the sanctuary designed to remind us of the tears of Jesus. Art was used to unveil truth.
Today I discovered how true that is, even today. Well, I think I can say it better than that, my heart experienced it in a powerful way today. We went to a shop with olive wood carvings. Almost immediately I was captivated by the unveiled truth of one of them. Jesus with pain and sadness, holes in his hands and feet, holds upright a man with a hammer and nail. Hammer. And. Nail. The hands holding the power to stop the beating heart of the Son of God. A small plaque at the bottom with one simple word, “forgiveness.”
Is it true?
Could the man that crucified Christ be forgiven?
Could I be forgiven for the times I crucified Christ?
Can my enemies be forgiven for crucifying Christ?
Can the people I’ve decided are
Christ’s enemies be forgiven for crucifying Him?
Art has the power to teach, to draw us into truth that we can only know through experience.
Today truth is still hidden behind ignorance, lack of education, and systems of power hiding the truth. Only now it’s hidden behind partial education, wrong education, false connection, group think via social media... well, you get the idea.
Today, truth continues to be unveiled in new art. Art on The Wall. Art in the flowers planted in Bethlehem. Art in an Olive Wood shop.
Wi’Am Center: United Methodist Missionary Kristen Brown welcoming us
Wi’Am Center hospitality
At Wi’Am Center, next to the separation wall and Israeli watchtower
Wi’Am Center director Zoughbi Alzoughbi
The Vice President of the British Methodist Church came by to greet us
UM Missionary Kristen Brown with trip pilgrim deaconesses Cindy Johnson, Megan Hale, and Robin Ridenour with Bishop Karen
By the wall in Bethlehem
Touching the place of Jesus’ birth at the church of the nativity
The manger at The Church of the Nativity
At The Church of the Nativity
In a cave in the Shepherds Field
The Shepherds Field Chapel
Leaving the Upper Room