I have been looking at a lot of art recently. Or at least, I spent a weekend in the city and took full advantage of the cultural wealth in my fair city (which is not my city anymore, mind you).
At the same time, I was trying to write a sermon today. It's not coming together all that well. In fact, it's frustrating me. Most of my seminary peers will make fun of me as I'm not preaching until October 8 -- and it's already half-written. They all hate this about me. But, I'm a little neurotic. I can't help it. Anyhow, the point is that I have time. And I'm allowing it to have a lot of weight. After I preach this sermon, the congregation that I hope to serve will vote me in. It's a big deal. It's a really big deal. Sigh.
Anyhow, I'm thinking about the art that I saw at the Museum of Biblical Art on Friday. MOBIA is a teeny museum but tends to have really, really cool stuff -- espcecially for people like me that love art and religion. It's like heaven. The current exhibit is a travelling show of Illuminating the Word, which displays the selections of the Prophets from the Saint John's Bible. You can go to the website and read all about the project. While I like the idea, or maybe the intention, there is something about it that eats at me. It seems that the entire premise of the project hinges on the fact that the Bible is no longer relevant. Eeek. And yet, this team of artists seeks to capture a relevant interpretation of the text for our modern world. Some of this is just amazing. And some of it is a tad too literal. While there are images that capture refugees and pollution of our earth, there is still a lot of Jesus stuff that we could reinterpret with a little more vivaviousness. But, I digress.
Oh, but you should see the images. Here are two. I wish I could find a still of the page in Isaiah. The one that describes the Messiah, or what we Christians assume is the Messiah while the vote is out on what Isaiah really thinks. You know, the Wonderful Counselor, blah blah blah text. We read it at Advent. I'm spending too much time on this and should just look it up. But, I don't feel like it. Anyhow, here are two images from the Gospel of John.
But, my sermon isn't about the Living Word -- or at least, not directly. Instead I'm taking the Job text and talking about images of God. I know where I am going, sorta. These images keep popping in my head while I write though. What is it that we are trying to see in God? When do images limit our experience of God? Does Bonhoeffer offer us the most wisdom in trying to claim a God of the gaps? Perhaps. Perhaps. But, curse God and die. I hate it when sermons don't come together easily.