Friday, May 1, 2015

Sanctuary Art: The Genealogy of Jesus

Pastor Megan created some icons for the sanctuary. 
This Sunday, the children's sermon will talk about the genealogy of Jesus.  The art above illustrates the stories of the bible.  On the left is the genealogy that is attributed to Joseph and includes characters from the Hebrew Bible.  The right side depicts relatives of Mary and characters from the Greek Bible.  Click here to learn more about the many, many versions of Jesus' genealogy.

Lets take a closer look at the seven icons on the left side of the altar (click on any of the images to see a larger version).
Adam and Eve: (left) Naked in the garden, the icon shows the tree of life, the snake and Adam's scar.  An allegory about what happens to people as they go through puberty, this story is one of the first in the bible.

Isaac: (right) Depicted in front of mountains and a lamb, Issac has no hands in the assumption that his relationship with his father and family trauma altered their relationship and his life forever.

Tamar: (left) Tamar pretends to be a prostitute to continue her family line.  Keeping intimate items to prove the lineage of her offspring, Tamar was painted with a red band around her head to symbolize her sexual choices.  Hidden entirely behind her clothes, Tamar represents the trauma that comes from difficult sexual choices.

Rahab: (right) Also thought to be a prostitute, Rahab uses a red cord to signal to spies that her house is a safe place for them.  As a result her family is saved when the city is destroyed.  Rahab's hand is shown to symbolize the way she uses her trauma to find liberation.

Naomi, Ruth and Boaz: (left) Ruth was a widow who loved her mother-in-law.  While gleaning (collecting the crops left for the poor), Naomi devises a plan for Ruth to marry Boaz.  Ruth gets Boaz drunk and then makes sure that when he wakes up his "feet" is in her hand, so he'll have to marry her.  It works.  This painting has wheat in the corners to remind us of the difficult choices Ruth makes because of poverty.

Jesse: (right) Perhaps the most popular and famous king of Israel, Jesse was a shepherd and is often referenced in hymns.

David, Jonathon and Bethsheba: (left) King David proclaimed that he loved Jonathon more than anyone else in the world.  After Jonathon is killed, David finds lots and lots of wives.  One of them, Bethsheba, became his wife after he spotted her bathing naked on a roof and had her Bethsheba's first husband killed in war.  David's saint crown doesn't form a circle, to remind the viewer of his sorted love life.

Now, let's look at the five icons on the right side of the altar, which follow Mary's family line. 

Anna and Joaquin: (left) Some Christians believe that Mary was the first person born without sin - making her body the perfect place for a part God, part human Jesus to be born.  This was accomplished when her elderly barren parents were visited by the Holy Spirit (depicted as a dove) and 9 months later, along came Mary. 

Mary and Joseph: (right) Mary and Joseph, Jesus' mom and step father are depicted with the star that was said to guide the Magi to them.  In Judaism stars symbolize hope, here the star reminds us of Mary's hope that Jesus' birth would fulfill God's promise to bring justice to the world.

Elizabeth and Zachariah: (left) Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, is the mother of John the Baptist.  Elizabeth feels the baby in her womb leap when pregnant Mary comes to visit.  Zachariah becomes unable to speak during the pregnancy and misses the big moment when he's supposed to say God's name at a festival.

James: (right) James was much more popular than Jesus during his day.  This brother of Jesus is mentioned in historical texts of the day.

Jude and perhaps Thomas: (left) Another of Jesus brothers, some wonder if Jude is also the disciple called Thomas (the twin), because he was thought to look a lot like Jesus.  Known as the doubting disciple, the image of Thomas has rough sections to remind us of the time Thomas said he wouldn't believe that Jesus was resurrected unless he could touch Jesus' wounds.

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