Lent, Day 22

LOOK: The Prodigal Son by Samuel Songo

Songo, Samuel_Prodigal Son
Samuel Songo (Rhodesian, 1929–ca. 1977), The Prodigal Son, 1954. Soapstone, h. 26 cm. Source: Christliche Kunst in Afrika, p. 254.

Samuel Songo was a Shona artist who lived and work in what is today Zimbabwe. He used a wheelchair and had only partial use of his right hand, so he worked mainly with his left, executing stone carvings, wood reliefs, and paintings on both religious and secular subjects. He was associated with the Cyrene Mission School, where he began as a student and then became an instructor. He played a significant role in advancing modern art in Zimbabwe.

To learn more about the context out of which Songo came to prominence, see “Missionaries’ Impact on the Formation of Modern Art in Zimbabwe: A Case Study of Cyrene and Serima Art Workshops” by Grace Zhou and “Ned Paterson and the Cyrene Mission Tradition” by Elizabeth Morton.

[Related post: “Down the Road” (Artful Devotion)]

LISTEN: “When I Was Distant” by Matt Moore and Matte Cassidy of City Church Music, 2018 | Performed by Salina Turner, Allison Negus, and Joel Negus, 2020

When I was distant from my Lord
Opposing his plans and ignoring his word
My stubborn desire left me at war
When I was distant from my Lord

When I was reckless on my own
Avoiding the ruin my choices had sown
A prodigal lost and far from home
When I was reckless on my own

There in the shadow of my sin
Unable to dwell with my Maker again
Ashamed and afraid and wearing thin
There in the shadow of my sin

Then came my loving Savior’s plea:
“Lay down your burdens; find rest in me;
All faint and all weary, come and see.”
Then came my loving Savior’s plea

When I was distant, God came near
Enduring the evil, the torment and fear
That beauty and wonder could appear
When I was distant, God came near

This song was part of the Digital Vespers service for Good Friday 2020 at City Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. To view the full service, click here.

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