“I found myself rather emotional,” by artist Marissa Bowles, Pittsburgh

But Jesus carried his cross  April 27, 2023

Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away, carrying the cross by himself. … Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. … He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. … Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. (John 19:16-17, Hebrews 5:8, Acts 8:32/Isaiah 53:7, Revelation 5:12)

Station 2: Jesus Takes Up His Cross

Marissa wrote the following about the significance and the process of creating this drawing:

Before anything else, I prayed. I prayed that the gift of art God gave me would be used to first and foremost glorify him. That after some time away from creating fine art, God would melt away feelings of self-doubt and use me and my now willing hands and heart to create again. I prayed to be led by the Holy Spirit to create something that would be a blessing to many and tell of the immeasurable love that God has for everyone.

Then, I spent time meditating on the Station 2 Scriptures [quoted above]: 

I found myself drawn to the use of symbolism. The skull-shaped hilltop with cavernous, tomb-like recesses represents death. Ropes tied about Jesus’ waist, held out of view by soldiers and intended to pull him onward like a lamb led to slaughter, instead trail behind him, symbolizing Jesus’ willing spirit. A halo of light surrounds Jesus’ head, symbolizing his coronation as King of Heaven and Earth. A lamb, traveling the rocky, dirt path opposite Jesus, bows in reverence and gratitude to the truly sinless, spotless Lamb of God, illustrating Jesus as the once-for-all perfect sacrifice for sin. The little lamb is set free from death by Christ’s sacrifice as we too are set free and redeemed — the sheep of his pasture bowing before our Lord. The scene is one of solitude, inviting us to imagine the loneliness that Jesus may have experienced as he selflessly walked the path ahead of him.

I chose graphite on paper as my medium as it has always been a favorite of mine and is forgiving. It often provides me with a feeling of being more connected to the image and the details as they begin to emerge. In particular, I found myself rather emotional, holding back tears, when I began to render Jesus’ wounds. With each stroke of lead, I felt uneasy, sorrowful, guilty and repentant.

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to create a piece like this and to be in the company of so many talented artists within the body of the church. I pray that this experience will be a catalyst for more art inspired by Scripture to come into being, not only in the reflective time of Lent, but year round.

In Christ, Marissa

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