Submitted by: Indy Vineyard Arts Community (IVAC)
Concept: A simple, interactive art project that illustrates 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”
Background: In addition to illustrating the verse, this can touch on a number of concepts: Our mistakes can become something beautiful, or, together we can contribute what we have and it becomes a work of art, or, the joy of naming and releasing things to God, or, turning our failures into prayers, etc. This can work to enhance a message on these topics, or become part of an Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday service.
How it works: This particular example began on Ash Wednesday, with an invitation to the congregation to write down their struggles and sins on small pieces of paper (which were provided). They were then asked to drop them into baskets at the front of the church as they came up for communion, signifying the giving of these things over to God. Later, after the service, the artists took the hundreds of pieces of paper and prayerfully attached them to a wooden background, in this case a ring that fit within a larger project. During the Easter morning service, an artist presented this board, covered with surrendered struggles and sins, and then painted over it with thick red tones of paint, signifying that Love covers a multitude of sins.
Result: The act of releasing sins or struggles to God using a physical object is freeing for a congregation. Writing it out, folding it, walking forward, and placing it in a bucket, then immediately taking communion, helps give weight to the act.
The artists also had a very moving and humbling experience as they attached the small papers to the board. It felt somewhat sacred, like a priestly act or intercession for the congregation as they carefully placed each unique, hand-written scrap of paper in a particular spot.
The finished project became a key part of a permanent altarpiece installation for this church. A brief explanation of what the piece means and how it was assembled is written on an attractive placard on the wall at the side of the stage. It has become a touch point for many, and a part of this church’s story. When a community gathers for worship, one of the purposes of that gathering is to remind them of their story. 1
Details: Cut pieces of paper to the size of fortune cookie papers and place them near the auditorium seats. This church had card pockets on the backs of seats, so they put the papers in there.
- Fortune cookie sized paper
- A couple of 2 gallon baskets or containers for the papers to go in
- A board or canvas to attach the papers to
- Glue, art supplies (paint), an easel, and a drop cloth