Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Holy Week 2020: Remembering My Future

Holy Week 2020: Remembering My Future 

Wholly Spirit-drawn to Him - 2010

After the Sermon, 2017

Drawn Clothes to Him, 2013

Jonah Palimpsest, 2020

By Tom Wachunas

   Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ…  - Romans 13:14a

You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. – Galatians 3: 26-27

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  – Matthew 12:40

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…”  - Jeremiah 29:11-14

   For nearly 20 years, my modest home studio has not been merely a room where I act like an artist. It is a place where worship happens. Not worship of the marks or objects I create, but worship of the One who created me to make them. It is a place where I gratefully listen, meditate, pray, and sing, so to speak, with my hands.

   Additionally, ARTWACH has often been a  platform for addressing the Christocentric motifs of my work. For those of you less familiar with what I mean, I offer two examples, inviting you here to pause, click on and open these two hyperlinks, and read my fervent comments on a work from 2017, “After the Sermon,”  and another from 2013, “Drawn Clothes to Him,” both pictured at the top of this post.

   Just a few days ago I finished “Jonah Palimpsest.” Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines palimpsest as: (1) writing material (such as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased; (2) something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface.

   Lately I’ve been experiencing a renewed fascination with the stylized iconography of illustrated Gospel manuscripts, prayer books, hymnals, and portable devotional images from the Middle Ages. To my mind and heart, that era’s art – replete with signs and symbols so often saturated with luminous hues that bespeak an inspiring and eternal presence - transcended worldly humanism to make the Divine somehow accessible, the supernatural tangible.

   My acrylic painting was made on a wood panel supporting a layer of sheer wrinkled fabric and crinkled translucent paper. The purplish Greek text that frames it comes from the first words in the Gospel of John, equating the person of Jesus with God and God’s word (logos) itself - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God:

ν ρχ ν λόγος, κα λόγος ν πρς τν θεόν, κα θες ν λόγος.

That tiny scroll held by Jonah as he emerges from the belly of the beast bears the Greek words, from Luke 24:34, The Lord is risen indeed:

 τι ντως γέρθη κύριος

   So why this picture of Jonah? Call it one artist’s Holy Week meditation. The Biblical narrative of Jonah is a distinct pre-figuring, or ‘type’ of the risen Christ. Victorious over death, he is the fulfillment of a promise, the hope and rescue of an afflicted, fallen-away world. My painting is nothing more, and nothing less, than a prayer of gratitude for the infinite love of a Father-Creator who, in Jesus, wants nothing more, and nothing less, than to raise us up to be with him  forever.

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