Skip to main content

lent collages 2010: you are/you shall be

as a pastor, i get several people asking me about what i've given up for lent (i joked in the pulpit yesterday that i gave up short sermons for lent).  i have mixed feelings about giving things up for lent, which should be a topic for another post altogether, but what i have decided to for this lent is not to quit anything, but to do something.  i decided to continue the discipline of connecting my faith with my art (which so often ends up being little more than a hobby), by working each week to create a collage that goes along with what we are focusing on in worship that week. 

at church this lent we are focusing on simon peter, the brash and impulsive disciple who left a fishing career to follow Jesus.  we started this week by focusing on his first interaction with Jesus as recorded in the first chapter of the gospel of john.  when his brother andrew brings him to Jesus, Jesus looks at him intently and says, "you are simon, son of john, but you shall be cephas (which means rock)"  i preached about how Jesus both confronts us with the reality of who we are and challenges us with the possibility of who we could become.  Jesus looked at the strong-willed fisherman Simon and saw the one who would preach at Pentecost and walk on water and be the foundation of the church! 

and so i made a collage that (somewhat heavy-handidly, i'm afraid) communicates this same message, connecting with the idea of already/not yet that i had in my sermon.  i'll be posting the others in the coming weeks of lent as the season unfolds.  i pray you listen during this season to hear the voice of Jesus naming you as you are and calling you to what you might be.

"lent 2010: you are/you shall be"
paper collage on hardcover book board
february 2010
gregory a. milinovich

Comments

cathyq said…
love the idea of using your art to focus during lent. Also, I absolutely love the collage. Great work. Keep it up! I would love to hear your ideas about giving something up for lent! Please share!
greg. said…
thanks, mom. my biggest fan!

as for giving things up for lent, i really believe it has to be more than just giving something up. i think we have to give something up so that we have more to give. in other words, i get real tired of our culture's tendency to give up something because of the calories or the health benefits. that's great, but it's not really the spirit of lent. we give up something in order to prepare ourselves or center ourselves. we give up some tv to spend more time in prayer or study, or we give up buying a daily cup of coffee in order to be able to help the family down the street. i personally reject the idea of giving something up just out of a sense of cultural tradition (sheep mentality). the way i see it, with my collages this year, i'm giving up some time that i would be spending in other ways, in order to make some art that (hopefully) strengthens my faith, and, God-willing, maybe even someone else's too.

put another way, Jesus didn't go into the wilderness and fast for 40 days to lose weight.

Popular posts from this blog

#thoughtsandprayers

i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

vote. and pray. but do not be afraid (the King is alive).

i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government.  i know i'm not.  in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points.  i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be.  i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it.  i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture.  perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns. 

which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i…