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Art for Lent 3, "Who Do You Say That I Am?"

This week's art is by by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Inspired by Matthew 16:13-20 | Theme: "Praise the Mount"

Digital Painting

Artist's Statement

I don’t know if this was a moment of clarity for Peter, if he was regurgitating the answer he thought Jesus wanted to hear, or if he was trying to convince himself that dropping everything and following this man was worth it, but I imagine this was a breakthrough for Peter.

I wanted to capture this as a moment of seeing and being seen. Jesus sees him as more than Simon, a fisherman and son of Jonah, and renames him Peter, the blessed foundation through which his ministry would take root and continue to grow. Jesus sees Peter through the eyes of God.

Peter sees Jesus as more than a teacher and companion. He sees through the veil of confusion concerning Jesus’ identity. He doesn’t see him as the reincarnation of a former prophet, or another contemporary baptizer pointing the way. He names Jesus as the “anointed one,” the one his people have so desperately longed for. Peter proclaims Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God.

In this image, I wanted to create a kaleidoscope of perception, imaging the ways Jesus is perceived in the context of this passage, like light broken down into a myriad of shapes and colors. In the gold rays of light Jesus’ form is obscured by the metallic shine of God’s glory. In the gray and earth-tone rays he is seen in monochrome. Each of the earth-tone rays holds a pattern on Jesus’ clothing which represents a misunderstanding of who Jesus is. Starting on the left, honey, locusts, and baptismal waters misidentify him as John the Baptist. Within the next ray to the right, ravens, an empty chair, rain, and fires from the heavens misidentify him as Elijah. On the right, scales of justice and plants being uprooted and planted misidentify him as Jeremiah.

Through the middle of the image, there is a ray of light where the image comes into full color that holds this moment of clarity where Jesus and Peter truly see one another. In this ray, Peter’s clothing holds symbols of his new identity: a rock upon which the church will be built and keys to the kingdom. Jesus’ clothing holds imagery—an oil jar and the light of the sun— representing the way Peter sees him as the Messiah and Son of the living God.


—Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

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