The Face of Christ

Picture Jesus Christ in your mind. What does he look like? A face gazing straight at you like the one in Warner Sallman's too-famous portrait? A cartoon character wearing a white robe and red sash (an image formed from years of exposure to church school papers)? A suffering body hanging on a rough wooden cross?

Or perhaps your image, like mine, reflects the physical characteristics and character traits of the man Christ must have been when he walked this earth. Whatever the picture in your mind, Lent is a good time to meditate on the human side of Christ. By appreciating more completely how like us God's Son had to become, we can be more thankful for what he did.

Place for Art

Worshipers cannot meditate on the visuals projected by most PowerPoint presentations. The images often fly by too fast, and many are inappropriately busy. (Sometime I’d like to see one image projected for an entire worship service.) In the meantime, we potters and fabric cutters, painters and sculptors need to continue to offer visuals that people can really look at. Quality time with art.

High Emotions

In the design shown at left, above, for the days leading up to Good Friday, Christ’s face is shown with a tear of sadness. Christ was frustrated with the disciples’ lack of understanding. He knew who would betray him. In the garden, he struggled with the burden before him.

On Good Friday, this tear of sadness becomes a drop of blood to represent his painful crowning with thorns and his death on the cross.

Finally, on Easter Sunday, the face is transformed by lightness. Christ's eyes, which so far have been closed in sadness and pain, are now open in victory!


The construction of this fabric banner is fairly straightforward. Choose white or nearly white fabric for the background and black or navy or very deep purple for the face details. This simple color scheme will make the changing color of the tear/blood very obvious. Use a few removable stitches or Velcro to make changing the tear (and later the whole eye) easy.

The tricky part is finding the right fabric for the last stage of this visual–the white fabric that covers but still allows the image behind to be seen. You may want to add the word Alleluia to this overlay.

If your space and engineering skills allow, hang this overlay fabric eight inches or so in front of the base hanging. You don’t want anyone to think that covering it in this way is anything less than deliberate.



Download the 7pg/34k pattern sand corresponding bulletin covers.

Dean Heetderks is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan, and art director of Reformed Worship. Show and tell him about your experiences at

Reformed Worship 70 © December 2003, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.