Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Art and the Bible and me

One of the things I am blessed by doing is putting together the Sunday bulletins for my church. It took me a bit to get the hang of using publisher and my husband's ancient computer, but now that I am over that hurdle, it's something I enjoy.

Our bulletins are 16 pages long, because we put all the music into the bulletin - no hymnals. The front cover features different art work each week that aligns with the sermon text. Googling around, finding the artwork is fun for me. I am always coming across things I've never seen before, and I enjoy reading about all the different artists.

Some weeks, I easily find public domain artwork. Daniel in the lion's den - very popular topic. Nativity scenes galore. Crucifixions, of course. Artists have painted scenes from much of the Old Testament. Narratives, basically, are more apt to be painted. I do not always personally like the art I choose for the cover, but I feel it is suitable for the text.

Other weeks, like the past two, are so frustrating. Jesus often taught about giving, but artists seem to have avoided the topic. I try to think of all different sorts of search terms that might give me something I can use. So, for texts on giving, I'll search giving, money, charity, stewardship, etc.

Charity, I learned last week, is often illustrated by a woman nursing, and that doesn't really seem like a "Welcome to worship!" painting in our culture, does it? I think that might freak some people out, especially the paintings of Roman Charity, which seem to be the inspiration for the closing scene in Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. I can't imagine that one on the cover of the bulletin.

That Daniel above I did use a few weeks ago. I like it because Daniel is so calm, not the familiar anguished Daniel of Rubens' giant painting. Here he has passed the night and is fully confident of God's protection. The painting is Daniel's Answer to the King by Briton Riviere.

Chagall's The Sacrifice of Isaac I can not use on a bulletin, because Chagall's work is not in the public domain. I wish I could use it, because I like it. You really have to click on the image to see it larger to appreciate it. I love how he ties it all to the sacrifice Jesus willingingly made for us, with the red flowing down from Jesus onto Abraham and Isaac. Just beautiful to my eye and heart.

Now I should get back to my bulletin. I've settled on the widow's mite, which is not the text being preached upon, but I think it will work.


TexasHeather said...

What a fun job that would be! I imagine it does get difficult, but wow!

Jan said...

I really enjoyed your post and thinking about what goes into picking a cover.