"The love of beauty is taste, the creation of beauty is art"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Art, Jesus and Grace.

I am in the process of doing three 40x40 paintings for my church's choir room. I have hesitated to write about this because my feelings of faith and organized religion are mine and I am not really interested in other people's opinions of those feelings or ideas. But art and religion have always had a symbiotic relationship, and my personal journey, artistic or otherwise, is thoroughly intertwined with my faith and beliefs. So having the opportunity to give back to an organization that does so much good for so many is a thrill.

Oak Grove United Methodist Church is a thriving congregation that uses the joy and beauty of music to bring emphasis to the weekly message. My task is to find a way to celebrate that beauty and to convey one of the aspects of Methodism that I find most appealing. From my studies I remembered that John Wesley differentiates between prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace, creating subtle distinctions between Methodists and other Protestant Christians.

There it is! My concept for the work. The three types of grace-
Prevenient grace- The gift of grace always present in everyone,
Justifying grace-By God's grace you are forgiven through acceptance of his love,
Sanctifying grace- By consciously choosing not to sin or perfecting your life towards the Lord.

Now, how to convey grace visually is my challenge.

Since these works are to "grace" the wall of the choir room, I went to the Methodist Hymnal and found songs that represent the three types of grace and decided to illustrate those songs.

"Amazing Grace"- Prevenient (preparing) grace ... I have to do a disclaimer with this one, I did not like any of the songs in the "prevenient" section of the hymnal and the words of "Amazing Grace" fit my definition of "God's gift" that exists in and for us no matter what. Again, not good at following other's rules ! Ha!
This painting is called "How Sweet the Sound" . I see God's grace as his gift to us. It is there for the taking, always, no matter what we believe or do .

"He Touched Me"- Justifying (accepting) grace- In this painting you can see the hand of God reaching out to someone who has turned away from God, backsliding in their acceptance of grace. God asks nothing of us, but to accept His love and therefore His grace.

"Let There Be Peace on Earth"-Sanctifying (sustaining) Grace- This painting is called "Peace" Doing good works in the name of the Lord. I chose to illustrate our voices lifted up in song bringing peace to our world.

I believe every time I hear the words of many hymns my burden is lightened and my soul is lifted. So I thank those who spend their time and give of their talent to give back to me the gift of worship through music.


  1. Lisa, these are all very beautiful and I love the inspiration and meaning behind them. I know that they will be an inspiration to all that see them! - Kimberly

  2. I love this post, and I too feel very strongly that music can lighten a burdened soul. I saw that perfectly today as we sang and lifted up praise to God in the midst of the loss of a sweet 7 year old at church today. I love these these pieces.. especially "how sweet the sound"