Rhythm: On the Ice and In Worship

I was recently with a friend in a store and we stumbled upon a toy zamboni. I recalled how when we moved to Pittsburgh and for the first time ever experienced life in a "hockey town." My son quickly fell in love with watching the work of the zamboni as it resurfaced the ice. I relayed the story and was thinking my precious child was unique. But my companion exclaimed, "who doesn't love the zamboni?!"

This caused me to reflect why? Time and time again the ritual is the same as the ice is scraped and then refreshed with clean water. We know what's going to happen. We understand the importance of the task so the skating can go on. Isn't this like worship? The rhythm imprints itself on us. We work at it over and over again. It allows us to be active with God. We are cleansed. We need it to happen.

I am thankful for the rhythm and ritual that God has modeled for us and called us to participate in. And therefore we enjoy creating products that honor the liturgical calendar. Rooted in history we cycle through the ritual of recalling and celebrating Jesus' life. There is a time for every season and this allows us the structure to honor our Lord and be refreshed in the rhythm over and over again. And like the zamboni we are all able to love this! Thank goodness.

Fine Art in Church

Using fine art, not just clip art or graphic art can add to the meaning of worship or deepen our connection to our faith outside of worship. Below is a piece for upcoming Christ the King Sunday. It could be used on it's own but would be even better for the viewer if a few guiding questions were asked to help the thought process. For example:

 

 

  • are you attracted to this work?
  • what is it that holds your interest?
  • does it remind you of anything? (a story, a memory, an idea?)
  • what is your eye first drawn to?
  • how do you think it was made?
  • what do you know about the culture of the time the artist made this?
  • do you recognize any symbols in this art?
  • can you extend the scene? what might have happened right prior or after this moment?

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If you are new to using art in your church you would probably enjoy the Grunewald Guild Podcast on this subject here. 

Carrot Top Studio mostly focuses it's art on liturgical stoles. But on occasion we branch out into art for church galleries or banners in worship. This advent we have one set of such art (shown above) available here. It is also available as a download with text for use as a devotional here


Stoles in Action

If you are new to Carrot Top Studio and have any question about how our stoles look after they leave the studio OR if you are needing inspiration for a stole to add to your collection to keep your visual message fresh and new here are some of our favorite "in action" images:

hanks to those who share their photos with us. It's a real treat for an online business to see how and where their art is used.

Worship Can Be Foreign

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I've always enjoyed worshiping in communities and churches that were not my home base. As you may know, my family (and studio)  moved from Pittsburgh to the Detroit area this summer. This has allowed a "season" of such visiting. There is much goodwill in Michigan and every single church we have worshiped in we have felt welcomed. Despite that through this process I've once again realized that sometimes you are a foreigner to the special rhythm, ritual, and even language of worship. We have experienced several things that have stood out in mind:

  • a parishioner patting my hand when I did something out of order in worship. It was the type of touch that reminded me that I was welcomed.
  • explanations as to how Communion elements would be served and why it was done that way.
  • description of the worship music printed in the bulletin prior to the order of worship....enlightening the reader to the history, meaning of the music and words and why they were relevant to this day.
  • lastly, yesterday prior to worship we experienced a verbal explanation of the music that would be included in worship. The anthem was later referred to in the sermon as to why it enhanced the meaning of the message. (BTW this is the song that was used and it was not only pleasing musically but the visual that it conjured up made it more powerful...."Stained Glass" by Joseph Martin and Heather Sorenson may be read about and heard here.).

Why do we write about this today? It makes me wonder how and when the visual messages of things like ministry stoles are included. Sometimes the message is very clear. But there are other instances when if you don't know the meaning of the symbol or for example why the sanctuary is decked in blue during Advent it's not going to help make an association to deepen our worshiping of the Lord.  I encourage you to incorporate the how and why of the visual cues of worship via the written or the spoken word. May the visual connection not be foreign!