Art as Liturgical Prophecy
Does the resurrected Jesus look the same in Los Angeles and Boston? Ecclesial art and ritual objects used in the context of congregational life engaged in transformational renewal; must hep make the connection between liturgy and life.
Baptismal fonts in the ancient world were meant to be gotten into. In some, stairs allow the candidate to enter the water from one end of the pool, and emerge from the other end. Why, then, is the typical twentieth-century font a small bowl mounted on a pillar? Clearly, the washing imagery is lost, as is the element of danger that attends to getting into a body of water.
It is not really surprising that those who craft objects to be used in Eucharistic worship seem intent on softening or even eradicating the symbolic connection between the experience of worship and the experience of life in the world. When attending a Sunday morning service was one of the weekly events on a good citizen’s calendar, prophetic encounter was not expected to be a part of the experience. People came to church to be reminded of their need to behave as benevolent people and solid citizens.
From Clay Morris’s Art as Liturgical Prophecy, in Visio Divina: A Reader in Faith and the Visual Arts, edited by Mel Ahlborn and Ken Arnold (Leeds, Ma: Leader Resources, 2009)
The Rev. Dr. Clay Morris is Program Officer: Liturgical and Spiritual Resources, Evangelism & Congregational Life Center, The Episcopal Church, and author of Holy Hospitality: Worship and the Baptismal Covenant.
On View: Rock Icons: Arches National Park 6 Mile Marker, By Elta Marie Wilson. In the words of the artist, ““Rock Icons” represents my heart’s spirit in how it perceives the land. The red cliffs soar into the sky with their faces carved by nature peering down upon the passerby. The Icons are so large; the human so small, more in tune with our rightful size in the cosmos. For it is not just the Earth that binds us together, it is our place in the cosmos. … As we search for community, we can see and sense the Earth. Its inherent spirituality and our shared life with the planet can bring us together. It is our first step toward a global understanding of ourselves. … As a small part of the ancient practices and traditions that bind us, I make my contribution. All cultures share the Earth and its cycle of life, death, and renewal. “Rock Icons” brings the spiritual, inspiring images of our Earth to our consciousness, reminding all of our humanism and common ground: Ubuntu.” From the ECVA Exhibition, “Art as Public Narrative: ECVA Imaging Ubuntu”. July 2009. Diane Walker, Curator.