Visual Connections in Worship: Using Art on Transfiguration Sunday

There are so many ways to make visual connections in worship. There are the traditional methods such as the details in architecture, vestments, textiles and floral arrangements. And then there are the more contemporary such as the use of multimedia on the big screen, eNewsletters, and worship bulletin covers. Why not combine historical art into the more contemporary and incorporate images that are strong and relevant onto the big screen in worship, on the church website, or in social media? There are many wonderful resources such as Textweek that provide an outlet for images and inspiration. For example, if you are preparing a Transfiguration message this work by a Russian artist who painted in the Neoclassical style and was as renowned for his sketches as well as his paintings might be a worthy visual.

Transfiguration by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, 1824

Transfiguration by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, 1824

Questions for thinking about Transfiguration: 

  • What do you see?
  • What colors are used? Are they warm or cool? How do they make you feel?
  • Do you see any shapes emerge based upon how the artist positioned the main characters? Might this be intentional? What does it mean for the story?
  • Is every part of the Biblical transfiguration story told in this painting?
  • If you could rename this painting what would you call it?
  • If you were the artist how would you have painted the story of the Transfiguration?
  • How does this painting relate to you?

The possibilities are really endless once you get into the habit of using images that go beyond clipart. Here's an example of a writer infusing art into their blog post. And an example from my friend Pastor Dave who places his sermons online in a blog after they are preached. The illustrations on the blog are the images he uses on the big screen in worship.

**Note-Just please remember to give the historical artist credit even if it is art of the public domain. If you are using work that is contemporary art make sure you have permission to share.