Wandering Heart Art: Disarming Peter

Wandering Heart Art: Disarming Peter

If attending church in person throughout lent you will notice the Stations of Peter art exhibit in the North Transept. We will also be displaying art on the front of our worship guides each week with the accompanying artist statement posted online. These images were printed with permission from A Sanctified Art.

We encourage you to take time to reflect on these images and practice Visio Divina, latin for “divine seeing,” a method of meditation, reflection, and prayer through a process of intentional seeing.


Disarming Peter by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

inspired by John 18:1-11
Digital painting 

“In disarming Peter, Christ disarms all  Christians.” —Tertullian (160-220 CE) 

Pressed in by soldiers and religious leaders, surrounded by lanterns, torches, and weapons, Peter does what many of us would. He responds to the threat of violence with violence. With sword in hand, he tries to take the unfolding narrative into his own hands and cuts off Malchus’ ear. Jesus tells Peter to “put the sword back into its sheath” (John 18:11). This is the moment I wanted to capture in this image. I imagine a rush of emotions surge through Peter’s body like a bolt of lightning. I imagine he feels the sting of shame after being admonished by his teacher for his violent actions. I imagine he feels the searing grief that comes with the  realization that his teacher and friend will in fact die, and he is helpless to do anything about  it—perhaps the most painful of all. Peter had a choice. He could continue down the path of violence, fight the soldiers and  religious leaders and protect Jesus from the inevitable, or he could yield, dropping his sword  and surrendering to the cup that God has placed before his friend. 

In the image, this choice is suspended in time. Is Peter releasing the sword and choosing the  way of peace? Or is Peter about to take up the sword and choose the way of violence? On the  left in the image, leaves from the garden’s olive grove reach out to shade and comfort him.  This is the way of peace. On the right, the soldiers are looming with the flames closing in  around him. This is the way of violence. 

Peter releases the sword as if it was on fire, as hot tears of shame, grief, and helplessness  pour down his face.  

Which way will we choose?

—Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

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