Lessons Learned: An Easter Story

Our church put together an art exhibit (consisting of photography, music and visual depiction) for a Journey to the Cross experience, an opportunity to pause and live into the events of Holy Week. My pastor wrote an awesome introduction which draws upon his visit to the Holy Lands years ago.

I was excited to join in this creative endeavor and chose to depict the Garden of Gethsemane. I’m pretty sure God gave me an idea early on but for some reason, I decided to complicate matters. At some point, I woke up and started paying attention and that’s when the lessons, as well as the images, began to flow:

  1. Creativity is more than natural ability. It involves submitting oneself to a process and the necessary discipline. Years ago, I did quite a bit of painting and drawing, however I haven’t done much in years. Surprise surprise: the ideas in my head refused to cooperate on paper!
  2. Only lately do I understand how satisfying it is to think and pray and try and try again, and along the way, to ponder what God might be doing in me as much as through me. I realized how much I enjoy process, as much or more than the end result.
  3. Once I realized that no amount of appreciation for watercolor techniques could ever bring them to life without some practical experience, I was free to work within my limits.
  4. Limits are a beautiful thing. In the end, doesn’t that about sum up the Easter story as summarized by Paul in his letter to the Philippians? . . . Christ Jesus: . . . made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And . . . humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!
  5. And yet this is where God choses to work and bring about the greatest victory ever: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
  6. I’m aware that the typical representation of the Garden of Gethsemane is that of Christ kneeling in prayer while his disciples sleep, surrounded by low hanging olive branches. What struck me more than anything was the depth of emotion in this passage, and that’s what I wanted to somehow convey – something about a holy night – holy mess.
  7. As I pondered the events in the garden, a kind of parallel story emerged and I tried to capture these thoughts in verse, which you are welcome to read as well.

May the events of this week grip you afresh as you walk your own journey to the cross and beyond!

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