Wandering Heart Art: Seventy-Seven Times

Wandering Heart Art: Seventy-Seven Times

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.


Seventy-Seven Times by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Inspired by Matthew 18:15-22
Digital painting 

When I’m creating a mandala inspired by a text, I’m able to zoom out and see the bigger picture, and the image itself ends up looking like a bird’s eye view, which I think is a helpful perspective sometimes.  In this mandala, I wanted to follow a person through the process of reproval, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration as Jesus describes in Matthew 18. In the center, a person is standing alone, isolated, with their arms crossed in a closed-off posture. If you’re sinned against, Jesus says to go and “point out the fault when the two of you are alone” (Matthew 18:15). When you move to the second ring of the mandala, there  are pairs of people shaking hands, finding common ground, or at least attempting to. If this  doesn’t work, then you are to bring more people (one or two more) together to provide counsel  and witness. In the third ring of the mandala, two people are engaging with the closed-off  person, sharing a way forward. In the next ring hyacinth flowers—which represent sorrow,  regret, and forgiveness—stretch, bloom, and grow, bringing beauty into the now open arms of  the people in the last ring of the mandala, who are embraced and woven into the community.  The person from the center goes from being alone and closed-off to embraced and open.  

When I was drawing the figures from the center out, it began to look like a dance. Is this the  picture that grace paints? Forgiveness cannot happen in isolation and certainly neither can  reconciliation nor restoration. The movement toward wholeness is the movement toward  one another.  

Perhaps craving more tangibility and practicality, Peter asks how many times he should forgive  someone who has wronged him, and Jesus says, “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven  times” (Matthew 18:22). This piece contains seventy-seven people and flowers to represent  the abundance of grace that Jesus calls us into. The gold represents the divine presence of  empathy, compassion, grace, and love throughout this dance from isolation toward community,  from brokenness toward wholeness, and from guilt and shame toward freedom.

—Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

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