Online events

Organized by Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality:

>> April 10, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EDT: “The Victory of Life (Easter in Renaissance Art)”: “The most important event of New Testament belief, Christ’s Resurrection, is not described in the Scriptures. That has not prevented artists however from imagining it. As we celebrate Eastertide, we invite you to join Monsignor Timothy Verdon as he reflects on a number of works focused on this theme.”

View more events at https://mounttabor.it/mount-tabor-talks-topics/.

Organized by HeartEdge:

>> April 15, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. EDT: “In the Shadow of Your Wings: Musical Bible Study on the Psalms”: Deus Ex Musica presents this interactive event in which participants watch prerecorded live performances of three brand-new vocal settings of Psalm 57, each set to music by a composer representing a different Christian tradition. After viewing the performances, participants will engage in moderated small-group discussions. No musical expertise is required.

Deus Ex Musica is an ecumenical organization of musicians, educators, pastors, and scholars that promotes the use of sacred music as a resource for learning and spiritual growth.

>> April 26, 3–4 p.m. EDT: “Art and the Liturgical Year: Bringing the Church Calendar to Life”: Organized in partnership with the CEEP Network. “This workshop explores ways of engaging artists with churches/congregations using the church calendar. What might inspire artists in engaging with the patterns that underpin the life of many churches, and how might engaging with artists open up understandings of faith in new ways for congregations? Examples of the kind of projects we will explore include initiatives using the visual arts in dialogue with scripture or exhibitions/installations in particular seasons such as Advent or Lent. Fundamentally, though, this workshop seeks explore a range of ideas and approaches and to hear about the benefits both for artists and congregations.”

Panelists:

  • Janet Broderick, Beverly Hills, California: Rector, All Saints Beverly Hills
  • Paul-Gordon Chandler, Casper, Wyoming: Bishop, Diocese of Wyoming; and Founding President of CARAVAN Arts (moderator)
  • Catriona Laing, Brussels: Chaplain, St. Martha & St. Mary’s Anglican Church Leuven; Associate Chaplain, Holy Trinity Brussels
  • Ben Quash, London: Professor, Christianity and the Arts & Director, Center for Arts and the Sacred, King’s College London; Director, Visual Commentary on Scripture Project
  • Aaron Rosen, Washington, DC: Professor, Religion and Visual Culture; Director, Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion, Wesley Theological Seminary; Cofounder, Stations of the Cross Public Art Project

>> June 4, 11, 18, 25, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. EDT: “Jesus Is Just Alright: What Pop Songs About Jesus Can Teach Christians Today”: Led by composer, musician, and educator Delvyn Case of Deus Ex Musica. “For over fifty years, pop musicians in all genres have explored the meaning and significance of Jesus in their music. The result is a rich collection of songs that consider important spiritual questions like faith, doubt, and prayer in unique and often provocative ways. Through a combination of listening and discussion, this four-part series invites participants to explore a different spiritual topic each week. Join us to listen to great music that asks tough questions about our faith and our lives as Christians.”

View more events at https://www.heartedge.org/.

Organized by Art + Christianity:

>> April 21, 1–2 p.m. EDT: “Exhibiting Faith in the Museum and Beyond”: World-leading experts Ittai Weinryb, Neil MacGregor, and Jennifer Sliwka will discuss the joys and difficulties of introducing to the general public art that builds on a faith tradition. “They will discuss what has become a major concern for teachers, lecturers and museum curators in many countries. How do you encourage a largely secular audience to step inside a work of art, in such a way that its religious meaning is felt and understood, and the artistic experience can become immersive? . . . Among the topics to be explored are:

  • The opening up of museums and galleries to enhanced audiences during the pandemic.
  • How certain objects are altered by their move from a sacred space into a museum, yet how they also ‘live on’ beyond the museum plinth or computer screen.
  • The need to understand secular inhibitions and the loss of interest in Christianity and to find ways in which works of art can readdress this situation.”

>> April 29, 2–3:30 p.m. EDT: “Coventry Cathedral: Icon and Inspiration”: “Join Alexandra Epps [an Accredited Lecturer for The Arts Society and Guide and Lecturer at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the Guildhall Art Gallery] for the extraordinary story of the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral as a symbol of peace and reconciliation and its inspiring commitment to the modern. Experience the artistic journey that is the Cathedral discovering the work of many of the world-class artists associated with its many treasures including Jacob Epstein, Elisabeth Frink, John Piper, Graham Sutherland and more.”

View more events at https://www.artandchristianity.org/upcoming-events.

Organized by Image journal:

>> May 5, 56 p.m. EDT: “The Art of Criticism: The People’s Madonna”: “Filmmaker Lucia Senesi grew up in Arezzo, Italy, within walking distance of several Old Master Madonnas. But it wasn’t until she was older—and viewing films by Andrei Tarkovsky and Valerio Zurlini, who were both captivated by the Madonna del Parto in Monterchi—that she saw these paintings with fresh eyes. Her essay in the spring issue of Image describes the fascinating history of a Madonna commissioned by peasants, executed by a Renaissance master, condemned by popes, and preserved through wars and social upheaval. She’ll talk with culture editor Nick Ripatrazone about film, the populism of sacred art, and the scandal of a woman pregnant with God.”

>> May 26, 56 p.m. EDT: “The Art of Imagery: You Are What You Contemplate”: “Artist Scott Erickson wanted to design a series of Stations of the Cross that people in his Portland neighborhood could encounter without the barrier of having to enter a church building—and he wanted to make them accessible to all. The result is a series of downloadable, printable images that have appeared all over the globe. His most recent book is Honest Advent: Awakening to the Wonder of God-with-Us Then, Here, and Now. He’ll speak with Image editor in chief James K.A. Smith about church, art, and ‘spiritual formation through image contemplation.’”

Lectionary Art and Music

For the last three-plus years I’ve been publishing a weekly blog series called Artful Devotion, choosing one of four scripture texts from the Revised Common Lectionary for the coming week and then selecting one visual artwork and one musical work that resonate with that scripture in some way—sometimes directly, sometimes more obliquely. I’m interested in the meaning that can open up in one’s Bible reading when the arts are engaged alongside that discipline.

After having covered all three lectionary cycles and then some, I’ve decided to end the series so that I can direct my energies toward developing other blog content. I still plan to use the lectionary as a guide throughout the year and to continue including “bite-size” posts at regular intervals, but by not committing myself to a formula and a particular text and a weekly deadline, I will have freedom to experiment with other modes of presentation and time to pursue more in-depth lines of research and other curatorial projects.

For a quick reference, I’ve compiled links to all the Artful Devotions below. Or, if you prefer, you can scroll through them from newest to oldest by following this tag: https://artandtheology.org/tag/artful-devotion/. If you want more context for the series, read the introduction.

In this archive you’ll find a mixture of art from different countries and eras: early Christian mosaics, late medieval Italian frescoes, a Chinese scroll painting, a Japanese woodcut, a Dutch still life, a Tongan stone carving, an Indian batik, African American folk art, contemporary Ukrainian icons, an installation in a vacant chapel in London, a hand-embroidered photograph from the Ivory Coast, biblical door carvings from Zimbabwe, a Jewish illuminated manuscript, an eighteenth-century Moravian devotional card, a Victorian “spirit drawing,” a modernist painting from New Zealand, a Quechua illustration of Christ’s Presentation in the Temple, a bronze fountain in Poland, and so much more.

In addition to shape-note hymns, spirituals, Black gospel, jazz, bluegrass, and indie folk from America and choral and classical music from Europe, there are also songs from Polynesia, Argentina, Congo, Israel, Georgia, China, Jamaica, and more. There’s an Armenian funeral tagh, an Indian bhajan, a Hollywood musical number, an English ballad about Mary Magdalene, a reggae setting of Psalm 137, and lots of other treasures!

Thank you for journeying with me through the church calendar here at Art & Theology. If you have found joy and inspiration from the Artful Devotion series, please consider making a small donation toward the further development of this website.

Donate here

Year A

First Sunday of Advent: Romans 13:11–12
Second Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 11:1–5, 10
Third Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 35:5–6a, 10
Fourth Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 7:14

Nativity of the Lord: Luke 2:7; Psalm 96:10; John 1:1, 14
First Sunday after Christmas Day: Matthew 2:13–18
Second Sunday after Christmas Day: John 1:3b–4, 9

Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:1; Psalm 72:10–11; Matthew 2:1–12
Baptism of the Lord: Isaiah 42:1–9; Matthew 3:13–17; Acts 10:37–38, 42–43
Second Sunday after Epiphany: Psalm 40:1–3
Third Sunday after Epiphany: Isaiah 9:1–5; Matthew 4:12–17
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: 1 Corinthians 1:18–25
Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas): Luke 2:25–32
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany: Matthew 5:14–16
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany: Matthew 5:21–24
Transfiguration Sunday: Matthew 17:1–9

Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1, 12–13; Psalm 51:8, 17
First Sunday of Lent: Genesis 3:6–7
Second Sunday of Lent: Psalm 121
Third Sunday of Lent: John 4:7–14
Fourth Sunday of Lent: Ephesians 5:14
Annunciation of the Lord: Luke 1:26–38
Fifth Sunday of Lent: John 11:1–45

Palm Sunday: Matthew 21:8–11
Holy Monday: John 12:1–11
Holy Tuesday: John 12:23–36
Holy Wednesday: John 13:18b–19, 21–30
Holy Thursday: John 13:1–17, 31b–35
Good Friday: Isaiah 53:1–12
Holy Saturday: John 19:38–42

Resurrection of the Lord: Matthew 28:1–6; John 20:1–8; Acts 10:39–41
Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:22–32
Third Sunday of Easter: 1 Peter 1:18–22
Fourth Sunday of Easter: Psalm 23
Fifth Sunday of Easter: John 14:1–3
Sixth Sunday of Easter: John 14:15–21
Ascension of the Lord: Acts 1:1–9
Seventh Sunday of Easter: Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7
Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth: Luke 1:39–55

Pentecost: Acts 2:1–21
Trinity Sunday: 2 Corinthians 13:14

Proper 6: Romans 5:5b
Proper 7: Psalm 69:1–3, 13–17
Proper 8: Genesis 22:1–14
Proper 9: Matthew 11:28
Proper 10: Psalm 65:5–13; Romans 8:6
Proper 11: Psalm 86:12–13, 15; Matthew 13:43
Proper 12: Romans 8:31b, 35, 37; Matthew 13:31–32
Proper 13: Genesis 32:22–31; Isaiah 55:1–2
Proper 14: Psalm 85; Matthew 14:29b–33
Proper 15: Psalm 133
Proper 16: Isaiah 51:3; Romans 12:1–2
Proper 17: Exodus 3:1–15; Romans 12:9–18; Romans 12:21
Proper 18: Exodus 12:1–14; Psalm 119:37
Holy Cross: Numbers 21:4–9; John 3:14–15
Proper 19: Exodus 14:19–31 (also)
Proper 20: Psalm 105:4; Jonah 3:10–4:11
Proper 21: Psalm 25:4–5; Ezekiel 18:26–32
Proper 22: Psalm 19:7–10; Philippians 3:13b–14
Proper 23: Psalm 106:4; Isaiah 25:6–9
Proper 24: Exodus 33:18–23; Psalm 96:1
Proper 25: Psalm 90:14; Matthew 22:37–38
Proper 26: Psalm 43:3
All Saints’ Day: Matthew 5:3–11; Revelation 7:9–12
Proper 27: Joshua 24:14–15; Amos 5:21–24
Proper 28: Psalm 90:1–6, 10, 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:2b–10
Reign of Christ: Ephesians 1:17–23

Year B

First Sunday of Advent: Psalm 80:1–3
Second Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 40:3–5; Mark 1:1–8
Third Sunday of Advent: Luke 1:39–55 (Visitation)
Fourth Sunday of Advent: Romans 16:25–26

Nativity of the Lord: Luke 2:10–12, 14, 16
First Sunday after Christmas Day: Isaiah 61:10–11
Second Sunday after Christmas Day

Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:3, 5–6; Ephesians 3:4–5
Second Sunday after Epiphany: 1 Samuel 3:9
Third Sunday after Epiphany: Mark 1:17
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Mark 1:23–28
Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas): Luke 2:28–32
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany: Psalm 147:3
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany: 2 Corinthians 4:3–6
Transfiguration Sunday

Ash Wednesday
First Sunday of Lent: Genesis 9:8–17
Second Sunday of Lent: Romans 4:13–25
Third Sunday of Lent: John 2:13–17
Fourth Sunday of Lent: Ephesians 2:1–10
Fifth Sunday of Lent: Psalm 51:1–2, 8

Palm Sunday: John 12:12–15
Good Friday: John 19:18

Resurrection of the Lord: Isaiah 25:7, 9b
Second Sunday of Easter: John 20:27–28
Third Sunday of Easter: Psalm 4:7
Fourth Sunday of Easter: 1 John 3:17–18
Fifth Sunday of Easter: John 15:5–8
Sixth Sunday of Easter: 1 John 5:3–4a
Ascension of the Lord: Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9
Seventh Sunday of Easter: Psalm 1:1–3 (cf. Jeremiah 17:7–8)

Pentecost: Ezekiel 37:14
Trinity Sunday: Romans 8:14–17

Proper 4: Psalm 81:10b
Proper 5: 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:1
Proper 6: 2 Corinthians 5:10
Proper 7: Psalm 107:23–31; Mark 5:35–41
Proper 8: Lamentations 3:22–23
Proper 9: 2 Corinthians 12:7b–10
Proper 10: Ephesians 1:7–8a
Proper 11: Psalm 23:1–3a, 4
Proper 12: Ephesians 3:18–19
Proper 13: Exodus 16:9–10
Proper 14: Psalm 130:5
Proper 15: Proverbs 9:1–6
Proper 16: Ephesians 6:10–17
Proper 17: James 1:21
Proper 18: Mark 7:31–37
Proper 19: Psalm 19:1–6
Proper 20: James 4:7
Proper 21: Psalm 124
Proper 22: Mark 10:13–16
Proper 23: Mark 10:17–22
Proper 24: Psalm 104
Proper 25: Mark 10:46–52 
All Saints’ Day: Wisdom of Solomon 3:2–4
Proper 26: Psalm 119:1
Proper 27: Hebrews 9:27–28
Proper 28: Hebrews 10:19–22
Reign of Christ: Daniel 7:9, 14

Year C

First Sunday of Advent: Luke 21:28
Second Sunday of Advent: Luke 1:68–79
Third Sunday of Advent: Zephaniah 3:14–20 (cf. Zechariah 9:9a)
Fourth Sunday of Advent: Micah 5:2–5

Nativity of the Lord: Isaiah 52:10; Titus 2:11; Luke 2:11
First Sunday after Christmas Day: Colossians 3:12–14
Second Sunday after Christmas Day

Epiphany of the Lord: Matthew 2:1–2, 9–11
Baptism of the Lord: Luke 3:15–17, 21–22
Second Sunday after Epiphany: Isaiah 62:1–5
Third Sunday after Epiphany: Luke 4:16–21
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: 1 Corinthians 13:1–3
Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas): Luke 2:29–32
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany: Luke 5:1–11
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany: Luke 6:20b–23
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany: Psalm 37:4
Transfiguration Sunday: Luke 9:28–36

Ash Wednesday: Matthew 6:19–21
First Sunday of Lent: Psalm 91:9–10, 13–14
Second Sunday of Lent: Philippians 3:20
Third Sunday of Lent: Psalm 63:1
Fourth Sunday of Lent: Luke 15:11–32
Fifth Sunday of Lent: Psalm 126

Palm Sunday / Holy Week: Luke 19:28

Resurrection of the Lord: Psalm 118:14–17; Luke 24:6a
Second Sunday of Easter: John 20:24–29
Third Sunday of Easter: Revelation 5:11–14
Fourth Sunday of Easter: John 10:28–29
Fifth Sunday of Easter: Psalm 148
Sixth Sunday of Easter: John 14:23–29
Ascension of the Lord: Luke 24:44–53
Seventh Sunday of Easter: Revelation 22:13

Pentecost: Acts 2:3–4
Trinity Sunday: Romans 5:1, 5

Proper 7: Psalm 42:1–2, 5
Proper 8: 2 Kings 2:11–12a
Proper 9: 2 Kings 5:1–14
Proper 10: Psalm 82:1–4, 8
Proper 11: Colossians 1:15–20
Proper 12: Colossians 2:13–14
Proper 13: Psalm 107
Proper 14: Luke 12:32
Proper 15: Hebrews 12:1–2
Proper 16: Isaiah 58:11
Proper 17: Hebrews 13:1
Proper 18: Jeremiah 18:1–6
Proper 19: Luke 15:4–6
Proper 20: Jeremiah 8:18–22
Proper 21: Luke 16:19–31
Proper 22: Psalm 137
Proper 23: Psalm 66:12 (cf. Psalm 31:7–8)
Proper 24: Genesis 32:22–31
Proper 25: Psalm 84:5
All Saints’ Day: Luke 7:20–23
Proper 26: Habakkuk 1:2–4
Proper 27: Psalm 145:3–5
Proper 28: Isaiah 12:1–6
Reign of Christ: Jeremiah 23:5–6

Roundup: Controversial Eve painting, liturgy, protest, visualizing belief, and “Ya Hey”

“Mormon painting of a black Eve draws fire, but not for the reasons you might think” by Peggy Fletcher Stack, Salt Lake Tribune: Early this year a new painting of a seminude black Eve by Mormon artist J. Kirk Richards went on display at Writ & Vision gallery in Provo, Utah. While many Mormons have expressed how captivated and inspired they are by it (and I should note, black figures are extremely rare in Mormon art), a few have insisted it’s wrong for a white man to depict a nude black woman because it conjures up collective memories of sexual brutality and enslavement. The article features some interesting perspectives by black Mormon feminists. In addition to raising important questions surrounding racial histories and representation, the painting, I’ve noticed, also illustrates a distinctly Mormon view of the Fall, which differs from the orthodox Christian view—a fact Richards alludes to in his March 14 gallery talk. View the painting.

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“A Conversation about Creativity and the Liturgical Calendar,” panel discussion presented by Brehm Center and Fuller Studio: Moderator Edwin M. Willmington, composer-in-residence at Fuller Theological Seminary, talks with an all-star trio of creatives and liturgists comprising David Gungor of The Brilliance [00:50], on authenticity in songwriting and introducing liturgical practices to the evangelical church he attended; Todd E. Johnson [10:40], on the history, purpose, and major observances of the church calendar; and Lauralee Farrer [26:18], on discovering the Canonical Hours in a New Mexico desert and later developing them into characters for a film project. Questions: [34:02] How has liturgy shaped you? [36:20] Advice for artists on how to bring the church year to bear in their art? [37:11] Have you found that lament is generally embraced or resisted? [39:41] Advice for worship leaders?

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“An Art Historical Perspective on the Baton Rouge Protest Photo that Went Viral” by An Xiao Mina and Ray Drainville, Hyperallergic: During a July 10 protest following the fatal killing of Alton Sterling, Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman captured the moment of twenty-eight-year-old Ieshia L. Evans’s arrest. As heavily armored policemen pressed in, the other protestors dropped back, but Ieshia stood assuredly in the middle of the three-lane highway, prepared to be bound. This article lauds the strength of this image of confrontation by citing compositionally and thematically similar paintings, including Briton Riviere’s Daniel in the Lion’s Den and Giotto’s The Arrest of Christ, and other works of art.

Ieshia Evans arrest photo

Ieshia considers herself a vessel of God, eager to be used by him to bring justice and peace. Here’s what she wrote on her Facebook wall the night of her release from jail:

Ieshia Evans statement

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“Things Unseen: Vision, Belief, and Experience in Illuminated Manuscripts”: Running through September 25 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, this exhibition “explores the visual challenges artists faced as they sought to render miraculous encounters with the divine, grand visions of the end of time, the intricacies of belief, and the intimate communications of prayer.” It includes a September 15 talk, “How Do We Depict Religious Experiences?”—that is, how do we convey metaphysical essence in physical form? I appreciated the Getty’s blog post this week featuring a newly acquired choir book leaf that’s part of the exhibition. Curator Bryan C. Keene writes about the difficulties of identifying the illuminator and about discovering, through an examination of the back and a search on the Cantus database, that the illumination depicts the wiping of tears from saints’ eyes, not, as previously assumed, the healing of the blind.

Christ wiping the tears from the eyes of the saved
Initial A: Christ Wiping the Tears from the Eyes of the Saved, attributed to the Master of the Antiphonary of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, ca. 1345–50. Tempera and gold leaf on parchment, 5 1/3 × 5 1/3 in. (13.5 × 13.5 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 113, recto. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

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“Ya Hey” song cover by The Brilliance: Written by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, “Ya Hey” is a modern-day psalm that expresses frustration with God’s seeming unresponsiveness—to being spurned and being sought, to brokenness and suffering, to sin and struggle. The title is a play on the word Yahweh, the Hebrew name for God. The chorus references the burning bush of Exodus 3: “Through the fire and through the flames / You won’t even say your name / Only ‘I am that I am.’” The Brilliance’s acoustic cover of “Ya Hey” was released last month as a music video on YouTube featuring four New York City ballet dancers. It abandons the shrill vocoder and heavy percussion of the original song in favor of a softer, purer sound. Read the lyrics and an analysis at Sound: Interrupted.

The sanctification of time in the church year

Other than celebrating the two high holy days of Christmas and Easter, I did not follow the liturgical calendar growing up; it was never highlighted in my church. It wasn’t really until after college, when I became involved in a denominationally diverse Christian community, that I realized what I was missing out on, and since then the liturgical calendar is something I’ve learned to appreciate and observe—at least its main seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, which concludes with the feast of Pentecost. The observance of these seasons is not mandated in scripture, but the church has devised them as a way to help us relive the story of God together throughout the year and to encourage us to meditate over an extended period on key mysteries of the faith.

12 feast days
Russian icon depicting the twelve great feasts of the Orthodox Church, plus the “feast of feasts,” the Resurrection, in the center, ca. 1903.

Wendy M. Wright has aided me greatly in my understanding of the set-apart days and seasons of the church year—their history, significance, and how they can be used as tools for spiritual growth. In her introduction to The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost (part of an excellent trilogy of books written from an ecumenical perspective), she describes how and why the church has structured time. This passage is quoted here with her permission:   Continue reading “The sanctification of time in the church year”