The psalmist (a fancy word for the guys who wrote some songs in the Bible called the psalms) talks about being still and knowing God. Our community of artists, Rock Salt Collective, like a good play on words, so we've been exploring God's character through the art form of still life photography...and we thought we'd share the images we created and also the story behind the objects that form our still life descriptions of God.
"Elohim" by Oli Higham
The very first time we encounter the word God in our Bibles (in the very first sentence) it is a translation of the word "Elohim." The literal meaning of this word is "The Strong One." So this got me thinking about how I might represent God as "The Strong One" through a few objects. Here's the story behind these objects.
A photo of a lion
The lion is the king of the beasts. It is an image that was used in the Old Testament (the bit of the Bible before Jesus was born) numerous times to describe what the special one of God who was going to come (they called Him the Messiah or the Christ.) Their expectation was that He would come in indescribable power...and he did but not how they expected.
The Narnia books were a huge part of my childhood. CS Lewis wrote the first (or second, depending on your stand point), The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as an allegory of the story of Jesus. The lion, Aslan, comes and dies for the mistakes of a boy called Edmund and then is resurrected. The story of the lion seemed to fit in to my thought process. It is the story of a lion but the story of a lion who lays down his life and seems void of power...and then shocks the powers of evil by showing that he was considerably more powerful than they could even imagine.
Er...weights link to strength. There's not much more to it than that!
The stripes were added in after the photo was uploaded to my laptop. There are partly there for aesthetic interest and in part represent the wounds of Jesus after he is whipped in the lead up to the crucifixion. They are a nod to the perceived powerlessness of Jesus on the cross. A small reference to the mocking shouts of Jesus as he hangs on the cross to show his power, if He has any, and take himself out of that horrendous situation.
In the book of Revelation (the last book in the Bible), a man called John has a vision of Heaven. In his vision, he hears someone introduce God as a lion. When he turns round there in the centre of Heaven is a throne with a slaughtered lamb on it. John starts to realise that the most glorious image of Jesus is that of His death. It is when he is most lamblike, most powerless that he is actually most powerful. It is through the act of being like a lamb led to the slaughter that He shows that He is more powerful than death. John's revelation is that true power comes through Jesus allowing everything, even death, to be thrown at Him and showing that He is bigger, more glorious, more powerful than any of it. Many of the New Testament writers refer to Jesus as the Lamb who was slain. It is an image of God's nature as Elohim.
So, that's some of the imagery behind "Elohim." Look out for a few more images over the next few weeks as we aim to be still and know who God is.
This blog post was brought to you by....Oli Higham
Oli Higham is part of the leadership team at the Rock Community Church. He finds it hard to sum himself up in a few sentences. However he loves Jesus and is also rather fond of his family, films, coffee, rugby, Arsenal FC, poetry, spray paint, beards, cooking and laughing.