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Art for Palm Sunday, "Then They Remembered"

This week's art is by Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Inspired by John 12:12-16 | Theme: "Songs of Loudest Praise"

Acrylic painting on canvas with digital drawing

Artist's Statement

In the Matthew, Mark, and Luke versions of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, two unnamed disciples follow Jesus’ orders to retrieve a colt. In these accounts, the disciples actively participate in the parade, laying down their cloaks and singing praise. In contrast, John’s version of this story provides minimal details and the disciples are hardly mentioned at all. However, the text does a unique thing: it breaks the fourth wall to tell us something important:

“His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered” (John 12:16).

Is Peter at the parade? Does he lay down his cloak and follow the others? Does he sing songs of loudest praise? Or is he lost in the cacophony of the crowds, confused by and afraid of what is taking place? Maybe he is thinking about the blur of events in the days just before: Lazarus raised from the dead, Jesus anointed in Bethany, the crowds knocking down their doors, the plot to kill Jesus and Lazarus swelling like a darkened, fast-approaching sky.

They didn’t understand at first, but then they remembered.

This image attempts to visualize these two locations in time and space. On the left, Peter looks out from the palm procession—his eyes glazed over as he watches Jesus riding into the city where he will surely meet his death. As the crowds sing “hosanna!” for a new, soon- to-be-killed-king, the dissonance of the scene causes Peter to tremble—like a guitar string snapped suddenly mid-tune.

In the top right is Peter’s mirror image. In this mirage, we glimpse the future. Peter stands aghast at the empty tomb, waves of hope and relief rushing through him like a river of grace, the remembering happening all at once—like a childhood song plucked from memory, like the refrain of a chorus that won’t let you go: it’s true, it’s true, thank God it’s true.


—Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity


Lisle Gwynn Garrity (she/her) is a Pastorist (pastor + artist), retreat leader, and creative entrepreneur seeking to fill the church with more color, paint, mystery, and creativity. She founded A Sanctified Art with the conviction that, in order to thrive, the church needs more creative expression and art-filled freedom.


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