When it was mentioned that the theme for Reformed Worship this year would be the intersection of worship and justice, my mind immediately went to protest posters. It seems there is so much to have an opinion about these days. A strong opinion. An in-your-face opinion!
Memorable protest posters have strong graphic images and few words. Their creators, who were just as effective behind a drawing board as in a picket line, were able to capture a point of view so compellingly that others were inspired to join their causes.
Since we’re people who are often called upon to create visuals in support of our worshiping communities, there might be something for us to learn from protest images.
Protest the Protests
Whether or not we are living in a more divisive time now than ever is hard to say, but it sure feels like it. What if we directed our creative energies to fighting—I don’t think that’s too strong a word—the things that are dividing us.
There’s a sign in the front yard of a church I drive by every day, and it’s been there for some years. It is a large but simple text-only sign that reads “WAGE PEACE” in big white letters on a field of blue. It’s a strong statement, one I suspect created lots of conversation in and around this congregation. I like it.
You’re getting this issue of Reformed Worship well into Ordinary Time, and soon you’ll be preparing for Advent and Christmas. What about a “Peace Lives Here” visual for summer and a “Jesus Was a Refugee” visual going into autumn?
Do them up big—like you mean it. And like our “WAGE PEACE” friends, why not create something that’s visible from the street? I know some of your churches have just the right columns or overhangs from which to display something like this. Your neighbors will appreciate knowing a little more about you. (Just make sure you’re following your town’s signage ordinances.)
But don’t post something for all to see that you don’t actually believe and live by. This might be a case where the benefit comes as much from getting everyone to agree on something as from the final art.