“Faith and Art”

Over the last few weekends, I’ve been spending a lot of time in some of our local art museums. Art museums interest me for a few reasons. One is simply that they are wonderful places to slow down and spend time thinking—about life, about faith, about what I’m going to eat for supper. Another reason is just that it is always amazing to me to go to a place where you can be surrounded by so much talent. The time and dedication these artists put into their work, not to mention their command over their tools and materials is inspiring! Finally, I love being surrounded by so many stories from so many different people. Whether the artist is telling their own story, telling their version of a familiar story, or speaking to some truth that is difficult to put into words, it is always incredible to me. I love the way the artists are willing to share themselves with people.

I tell you all that to introduce you to our next sermon series, “Faith and Art.” The series will start on July 3 and each sermon in it will draw inspiration from a piece of art that is currently on display at one of the three major art museums here in the Triangle: the Nasher in Durham, the Ackland in Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Each piece will be paired with a scripture passage that the artwork reminded me of, meaning that the sermon itself will be based on the scripture and the art will help to illustrate the themes of the sermon. I am not an art expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a firm believer that art can speak to what it means to be human. I think that can pair beautifully with the scriptures because God so consistently tells people that we are loved, that we bear God’s image, that we are precious to God. God knows what it means to be human and speaks to that experience.

One of the major components of this sermon series that I would encourage everyone to participate in is simply to go and see the pieces we’ll be talking about. Some of the pieces are huge (paintings taller than me!) and their size helps communicate their message. Some of the pieces are highly textured and the hardness or softness of the medium speaks to the artist’s ideas. All the pieces that I’ll be talking about are available in the parts of each museum that are free to the public. If you cannot make it in person, you can go to each museum’s website and look up the pieces (websites at article’s end).

All that being said, the first piece we will be looking at on July 3rd is at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill. It is entitled, “Aligned by the Sun” and it was created by a team of artists known as Ghost of a Dream. It is a simple piece, but it has a message of unity that will go wonderfully with that first sermon. The reason I mention it now is because it is only on display through July 3rd, meaning if you’d like to see it in person, you’ve only got about two weeks!

I’m looking forward to this series and the insights into our faith we can gain through this art.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University— nasher.duke.edu
The Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill—ackland.org
North Carolina Museum of Art—ncartmuseum.org