Tools of Holy Obedience
What's the significance of the various objects that feature in the Jesus story? What can we learn about Jesus from items such as the nails, palm leaves and curtains of the temple?
An Easter art exhibition called Tools of Holy Obedience at Manvers Street Baptist Church in Bath is focusing on these and other such items which featured in the last week of Jesus' life prior to Easter. It gives a fresh understanding of how Jesus' life and death was 'a pathway of faith taken by God to bring about the renewal of all things'.
'The original idea for this came from a service published by Baptist minister Philip Gouldson,' explained the Revd John Rackley, minister at Manvers Street.
Jesus followed the path prepared for him by God and was obedient to God's purpose. In his last week some people were cruel and others were kind. They often had something in their hand. These were their 'tools'.'
For the exhibition a group of artists, some experienced, others just beginning, prepared their own interpretations of these items. Each interpretation is accompanied by a brief meditation from John.
The project highlights how in the dying of Jesus 'we see the destruction of all that makes humans brutal and disordered transformed by the victory of self-giving love.
'The 'tools' that made him suffer became the means by which earth and people are re-created.'
The inspiration for this project comes from a prayer written by George Macleod:
'O Christ, the Master Carpenter, who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we who come rough-hewn to your bench may here be fashioned to a truer beauty of your hand.'