|Minister's Letter - February 2018|
|It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting! The painting in the Dovetail Centre I mean. But what an intriguing, enigmatic, piece of art it is. Jesus – his face – pictured in the midst of abstract colours painted by, well, his modern day friends, including me! Is Jesus receiving the Spirit at his baptism; is the light on his face a dove? And is the fire of the Spirit depicted in amber red with the Jordan river water below? Or is Jesus giving up his Spirit, following his death – a crown of thorns emanating from a rough tree. Who is this man? What does he say to you? Does the painting comfort or disturb? Whether you like it or you don’t, the question is still, why?
So where are the names which we lovingly etched in charcoal and chalk? They are all there; the foundation – the fabric of the painting. The names on the paper, were each ripped into the shape of a dovetail joint and then stuck together, reminding us of the dovetailing, twenty five-years ago, of two parts of a building; the dovetailing of church and community; the Dovetail Centre. Jesus is the name we honour – ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name.’ (Isaiah 43:1)
I have heard people describe why this isn’t how they imagine Jesus as much as those who describe what Jesus might be thinking or praying in the painting. And perhaps modern art is supposed to do this – evoke a reaction; an emotion. I’m sitting, writing, in a quiet Dovetail Centre, looking at the painting. What are you saying Jesus, to the church; to the community? You have changed this space. You’re not the gentle dove I wanted; you’re the Christ I didn’t expect.
My hope was that the painting would express something of who we are as a Christian people. And my hope was, that a piece of art would give us a means by which we could ‘talk about our faith’ to – well, anyone. Whether the painting disturbs or comforts, the painting invites a question, a reaction, a feeling. What a gift! And it shows Jesus, the name above all names.