As we have moved into our fall worship season, “Called to Faithful Action,” our online services have been enhanced by images depicting scenes of social justice. This preaching series encourages us to examine all the ways we are called to faithful action—in politics, in our economies and budgets, and in our sense of family and relationships. In all of these areas, scripture speak to us and calls us to take action that is consistent with our Christian values.
During online worship each Sunday, these evocative images can be difficult to fully take in as they move on and off our screens quickly. Kris Garratt, our Artist-in-Residence, has continued to update the art in our sanctuary to help us envision ourselves in this sacred space. Kris has brought together images from past liturgical art projects and created new ones to illustrate issues that call us to action.
Three of these pieces are banners that depict Nickelsville, the Supreme Court Citizens United decision and the Human Rights Campaign. These banners were all created for a previous worship series that focused on the parables of Jesus. They were intended to depict contemporary examples of lessons contained in the parables of Jesus. The image of Nickelsville was paired with the Parable of the Friend at Midnight, Luke 11:5-10. The Citizens United banner was paired with the Parable of the Unjust Judge, Luke 18:1-8. The Human Rights Campaign banner was paired with the Parable of the Leaven, Matthew 13:33 and Thomas 96.
Our church has hosted the Nickelsville homeless encampment multiple times. In its early days, residents all lived in pink tents as depicted in the banner.
The Citizens United decision, issued by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2010, held that the First Amendment prohibits our government from restricting campaign contributions made by corporations. That decision opened the way for unlimited election spending by corporations and unions as well as the rise of Super PACS. This banner features the statue of a woman on the Supreme Court building, altered so that her hand is covering her eyes in disbelief. An individual citizen is shown voting at the foot of the statue.
The Human Rights Campaign, whose logo is a yellow equal sign on a field of blue, is the largest LGBTQ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. Placing the symbol on a communion table reinforces our commitment to open and affirming theology.
Two smaller banners, one depicting refugees at an aid tent, the other of an anti-racism protest, are part of a series of banners based on a hymn from the Iona Community, “Jesus Christ is Waiting.” These two banners were originally clustered with an image of Jesus in a fit of rage to portray the words of the second verse of this hymn.
Jesus Christ is raging, raging in the streets,
Where injustice spirals, and real hope retreats.
Listen, Lord Jesus, I am angry too.
In the Kingdom’s causes, Let me rage with you.
May the opportunity to study these images bring you more deeply into the call to faithful action.