Art & reflections by Scott Erickson
In 2015, we began asking the question, What does it mean to be the people of God in our time and place in history? This led us to adopt some specific practices found in Scripture that turn our lives both toward the grace of God that has come to us in Jesus and toward the world He loves. They are: Hear and Obey, Celebration, Vocation, Hospitality and Generosity.
Paintings depicting these practices are now displayed on our "Benediciton Wall" at Central City Campus. When we gather, we gather as a community around the communion table of Jesus Christ. As we leave the sanctuary, these paintings remind us of our communal practices. They function as visual anchors to our deepest beliefs. Images to contemplate and pray through. Visual prayers of blessing as we live and serve in the wonderful world God has given us. May they serve you and this church in it’s mission to love God and our neighbors as ourselves.
Hear and Obey
Receiving the grace of Jesus as He speaks to us through His Word and Spirit – leading us into holy listening, dependent trust and obedient faith.
Images on which to Meditate:
Shepherd Staff / World - “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
Blooming Heart - “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Triangle - Mount of Transfiguration - Moses and Elijah both met an unseen God on a mountain, and then see Jesus in His transfiguration. “A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:35
Hexigon - Represents the cube of the New Jerusalem…. which references the dimensions of the Holy of Holies. “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” John 2:19
Crown (Lord of All) - “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:5-11
Book - the Word made Flesh. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John1:14
Anchor - historic Christian symbol of being held amidst the flowing sea. “The boat was in the water, some distance from land, buffeted and pushed around by waves and wind. Deep in the night, when He had concluded His prayers, Jesus walked out on the water to His disciples in their boat. The disciples saw a figure moving toward them and were terrified.
Disciple: It’s a ghost!
Another Disciple: A ghost? What will we do?
Jesus: Be still. It is I. You have nothing to fear.
Peter: Lord, if it is really You, then command me to meet You on the water.
Jesus: Indeed, come.
Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and began walking toward Jesus. 30 But when he remembered how strong the wind was, his courage caught in his throat and he began to sink.
Peter: Master, save me!
Immediately Jesus reached for Peter and caught him.
Jesus: O you of little faith. Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between following Me and heeding fear?
Then Jesus and Peter climbed in the boat together, and the wind became still. And the disciples worshiped Him.
Disciples: Truly You are the Son of God.”
Coffin - defeater of death. “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I died, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. Revelation 1:17-18
“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his [o]life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? - Luke 9:23-25
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” - Galatians 2:20
Celebrating Jesus through the grace of communal worship and the submission of holy rest – cultivating an experience of gratitude and intimacy with God.
“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’” - Revelation 5:1-10
“The Mystery of God as Trinity invites us into a dynamism, a flow, a relationship, a waterwheel of love. The Mystery says God is a verb much more than a noun. God as Trinity invites us into a participatory experience.” - Richard Rohr
"‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." -John 15:20-23
"Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." -Genesis 1:26-27
Participating with Jesus in daily mission through the grace of living out our holy calling as a community and as individuals – leading us to an awareness of our spiritual gifts and the divine opportunities in our daily work.
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn. If you abide in Me and My voice abides in you, anything you ask will come to pass for you. Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. I have loved you as the Father has loved Me. Abide in My love. Follow My example in obeying the Father’s commandments and receiving His love. If you obey My commandments, you will stay in My love. I want you to know the delight I experience, to find ultimate satisfaction, which is why I am telling you all of this.
My commandment to you is this: love others as I have loved you. There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command. I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends. You did not choose Me. I chose you, and I orchestrated all of this so that you would be sent out and bear great and perpetual fruit. As you do this, anything you ask the Father in My name will be done. This is My command to you: love one another.” - John 15:5-15
“Jesus to Peter: 'Your name is Simon, and your father is called John. But from this day forward you will be known as Peter, the rock.'” - John 1:42
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.' At once they left their nets and followed him.” - Mark 1:16-8
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” - Matthew 16:23
“Then Jesus answered, 'Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!'” - John 13:38
“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” - John 21:3
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.' Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.' The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.'" - John 1:15-17
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: 'Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.'” - Acts 4:8-14
Experiencing the grace of Jesus by welcoming Him into our lives through the face of the stranger; making space for inclusive meals, acts of compassion and sharing the grace and knowledge of Christ with others.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" - Matthew 25:34-40
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” - John13:12-17
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35
Encountering Jesus through the grace of joining him in selfless service and revolutionary sacrifice; teaching us that our time, our energy and our resources have been given to us to bless the world.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” - Matthew 6:21
“Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'” John 4:13-14
Resting in the providence and grace of Jesus by submitting to holy rest - making us aware that we are sustained by His love and provision and it is from this central place that we work throughout the rest of the week.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”- Mark 2:27
“Be still, and know that I am God;” - Psalms 46:10
“If you watch your step on the Sabbath, and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage, if you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, if you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there — Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all. I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob. Yes! God says so!" - Isaiah 58:13-14
Scott Erickson's Imago Dei Practices are now on display in the sanctuary at our Central City Campus. Scott is a touring painter, performance artist and creative priest who mixes autobiography, mythology, and aesthetics to create art that speaks to our deepest experiences. He is currently an artist in residence at Imago Dei. Learn more about Scott at scottericksonart.com.