Monday, February 22, 2010

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


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.