Our family recently read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Having had read it years earlier, I was prepared to encounter the harsh guards, flea-infested beds, and vile smells. What I hadn’t expected during this second reading, however, was discovering the significant role that visual beauty plays in Corrie’s experience.
Like bread crumbs guiding Hansel and Gretel, a sparse trail of beauty offers hope in the midst of tragedy. Corrie uses scavenged threads to create a masterpiece of embroidered flowers on her pajamas. The singed remains of tulips offer promise. Color is more than symbolic for life – it infuses life to the deadened imaginations and despairing souls. The book ends with the following words:
“Windowboxes,” I said. “We’ll have them at every window. The barbed wire must come down, of course, and then we’ll need paint. Green paint. Bright yellow-green, the color of things coming up new in the spring.”
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We live in an intensely visual world.
We’re (rightly) warned of the associated dangers.
But do we dare to dream of the possibilities?
This rich, eight-minute video gives an overview of Makoto Fujimura’s celebrated Four Holy Gospels project and a glimpse of his heart. You’ll want to enlarge to full screen – the images are stunning.
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I wonder what would happen if we designed our church bulletins with large margins to encourage such doodling, and made available color pencils and markers. What would happen if we did invite children into our theology, to dance, to improvise, to play and to draw beautifully? You see, it does have to do with the Gospel, in our true identity as the heirs of Christ, as princes and princess of the Great King. The Feast is to come, the Wedding is about to start.” You can read the entire essay here.
- What ideas from the article resonated with you?
“It’s not so much of excluding ourselves from the secular liturgies, but to repent that we have not understood what is a beautiful liturgy. . .”
- What do you make of that?
“If we do live in a visual culture, then lack of beauty leads to a dehumanized state of our entire culture; and, I might add, poverty of our theology.”
- What does beauty have to do with theology? What are the implications?
“Visual theology happens, when we are engaged with scriptures,
with fulness of our imaginations.”
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If you missed the first few weeks of this series, you can catch up here: