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First Pres Blog

The Art of Forgiveness, No. 6

Posted by Matt Fox on

Athanasios Clark, The Byzantine Orthodox Icon of the Prodigal Son, Calvin College. Gift of Larry and Mary Gerbens.

Our Lenten art exhibition, "The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness," is up and open. If you weren't able to be with us opening weekend, there is still time to embrace this collection. The exhibition is open Tuesday evenings, Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings. To learn more, click here. To schedule a docent tour, call 719-884-6100.

This is a powerful collection of pieces based on the story of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15. This is also a great chance to reach out and witness. Be thinking of someone in your life that you could invite to view this collection. It can be a great way for the Gospel to penetrate someone's life in an unexpected way.

As we move through Lent, we're continuing to offer a look at the pieces in this collection and sharing some of the stories behind them. Today's piece looks like something out of a different era, but it's actually quite modern. The artist, Athanasios "Tom" Clark, created the piece as a commission for Larry and Mary Gerbens in 2004. Larry notes in the book on the collection that from the moment it arrived it became Mary's favorite piece.

In the piece, Clark captures the full journey of the Prodigal Son, including rich theological pieces, in the work. He explains a bit of his thinking in the exhibition's companion book.

"On the right of the icon, the returning son is seen on a barren slippery slope. He is shown in three positions: feeding the swine and recognizing the condition into which he has fallen, kneeling in confession and repentance, and returning to the Father in humility. The Father, as Christ with a Cross in His halo, is in the window on the right side... saw his son way off." (The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness, page 48)

To experience Clark's piece in person, and to see the other 42 pieces on display as part of this collection, visit First Pres this Lenten season. The exhibition is in the Narthex gallery on the first and second floors. It continues through Easter Sunday, April 16.

Tags: art, parable, prodigal, worship