Thursday, April 12, 2007

Calgary Etchings

Palm Sunday found me in Calgary, Alberta, of all places.

(Only two things about Calgary I knew before this trip – both learned in childhood.

  1. The Winter Olympics were there. I learned that by watching tv.
  2. Jesus wasn’t crucified there. I learned that by having a priest correct me in front of my first communion class.

I worshipped with my friend at Centre Street Church, which holds their big Easter concert on Palm Sunday. One of the many wonderful things within the event was the use of visual art.

As the orchestra played, two artists worked on a black canvas that was draped over a white video screen. The two worked independently, yet their art joined seamlessly.

Then, once the canvas was near full, I noticed them adding what would become a cross through the center of the piece. At first I thought they were using iridescent paint, because the cross glowed – but in looking closer, I realized that they weren’t painting a cross at all.

They were scraping a cross into the painting – etching so deep that the light of the screen behind the painting was shining through. (Apparently they weren’t working on canvas, but rather plexi-glass coated in black paint.)

Okay, this is cool for so many reasons, not one of which was explained to the congregation – we had to have eyes to see for ourselves.

What did I get from it?

That the light of Jesus isn’t a layer that we paint onto ourselves, but only something that shines through us when we get our gunk out of the way.

And that for G-d to shine through us, first he has to scrape. A painter’s version of C.S. Lewis’ Aslan using his claws to painfully, bloodily rip off Eustace’s layer upon layer of dragon scales.

Just my thoughts,


No comments: