Using Visuals in Church: Stained Glass of the Day

You know you’ve had a successful vacation when you’re honestly glad to be back at work.  I felt very fortunate to step into the pulpit today and say Welcome to worship.

I’m really paying attention to how I use images in church, so let me record what I did.

Lately I’m working with the idea of an anchor image, almost like a stained glass window of the day.  At other times I’ve used more rapidly changing images to punctuate points in the sermon, and that can be useful, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that more than maybe once a month.  Today we heard the story of Jesus’ baptism, so I chose 2 images to project, the first of which showed a dove coming from a cloud, with a nice sense of movement.

There was then a slide with words to punctuate one point in the sermon * God is Nowhere/God is Now Here * to emphasize the fact that the Holy Spirit enters where we simply allow a crack in our consciousness.  I like the way there is literally a crack in the word Nowhere to allow us to see that God is Now Here.  It may be a cliche to some, but it still has power for me  Following the sermon, a more artistic, colorful rendering of a descending dove was projected while we celebrated communion.

Church was full, which felt wonderful. The choir had a day off. The hymns we sang were all perfect in terms of words, maybe not so perfect in terms of familiarity, speed, musicology.  Today was an organ day, which is only once/month now.  We sang well, especially considering the fact that it was an organ accompaniment and the hymns were unfamiliar.

During the serving of the bread, I read a page from Henri Nouwen’s book, The Inner Voice of Love, which is such a meaty book.  A number of people expressed their appreciation for that.  Again, the tension between having absolute silence, and some words to reflect on.

Really, how much stimulation is perfect, visually, auditorially?  It depends on the person, so I suppose we try to mix it up a bit, and find some kind of medium.

After church we had a brief congregational meeting to elect elders.  I said the familiar words, that God raises up leaders in each generation, and indeed, God did it again!  Thanks be to God.


Comments

4 responses to “Using Visuals in Church: Stained Glass of the Day”

  1. Passerby Avatar
    Passerby

    Sometimes it’s not easy to retrace one’s footsteps in the cyber space. 🙂

    More about the curriculum can be found at http://spiritseasons.com, but I believe the images (in book form, probably) can be purchased from Cokesbury (http://www.cokesbury.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=676213). Hope this helps.

  2. Passerby, thanks for passing by! I’m not acquainted with that curriculum. I love the idea of using visual images like seasonal posters. Would you share a link? You could email it to me, if you’d prefer that.

  3. Passerby Avatar
    Passerby

    I think I’ve heard of “Godisnowhere” made a point, but I especially like the way you phrase it, that “the Holy Spirit enters where we simply allow a crack in our consciousness.”

    Have you heard of the Seasons of the Spirit SS curriculum? It comes with 6 posters of paintings/photographs each season. I teach SS to the younger youth, and have been amazed at times by how the younger ones see pictures very different from what I see.

  4. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner so I like it when there is an image I can associate with something I am trying to learn so I am sure the visual learners in your congregation appreciate your efforts to use imges! That said, there is definitely a point where it is too much and even I go into sensory overload. I REALLY like the *God is nowhere/God is now here* point! That is awesome!

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