Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lent as Collaborative Journey

During the season of Lent the congregation meditated together on the story of the Prodigal Son. Each Wednesday for five weeks we read a little more of the parable and members of the congregation shared their reflections on the story through original poetry, songs, painting, carpentry, and crocheting. Worshipers were invited to stand up and walk around the sanctuary at any time during the service to examine the paintings, meditate on the cross, and feel the prayer shawl.

The shawl was made by a team of people who would hand it off each week and pick yarn that they felt expressed their week's segment of the parable.

The first week's segment is a bright blue with an open stitch and light yarn; all seems well for the younger son as he takes his father's wealth and spends it in foreign lands.The second week's segment is dark, mixing red, black, and brown in a tight weave as the younger son has spent all his money and finds himself living with pigs, forbidden to eat even the food that the animals receive. The younger son realizes he needs to return home.
The third week returns to the original stitching as the younger son returns home and his father runs out to meet him with joy. The color is now a dusty green as the father throws a party to give new life to his road weary son.

The fourth week's color is a dark red, as the elder son hears of the celebration for his brother and becomes angry that someone so irresponsible should be welcomed with such joy.

The fifth week does not receive a new segment, but instead a trim and surrounds the shawl. This is the constant love of the father that surrounds both brothers. Each side is a different color. One is black and one is white, signifying the father's words to his eldest son about the younger, "he was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found." One is green and one is yellow, signifying the congregation's own journey through Lent, from the season after Epiphany (green) to Easter (yellow).

Though this first canvas looks blank, it's actually been covered with gesso, a substance which gives the canvas roughness and texture so that it can bring the image to life. Also, if you look closely, there are blue streaks.

Our painter was sick one week, hence only four paintings, but she's planning to do more for Maundy Thursday.

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