Wandering Heart Art: The Descent

Wandering Heart Art: The Descent

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.


The Descent by T. Denise Anderson


(inspired by John 18:12-18, 19-27)
Cotton, appliqué 

I love portraiture and textiles, but until now, I’ve never married those two things. At the time of this piece’s creation, I’d been doing a lot of sewing, particularly of stoles and vestments. When it came to choosing a medium for this collaboration, fabric would not let me go! It makes sense that, as we consider the interweaving of Peter’s own story with that of the crucifixion, the medium for this piece would itself be woven. What must Peter have felt in those fateful moments of betrayal? 

Here, I try to capture Peter’s initial paralysis when he’s first asked if he’s one of Jesus’ disciples. When Jesus was arrested, Peter had only begun to see the full extent of the empire’s cruelty. “Would they do to me what they’ve done to him?” he must have asked himself. Maybe he could be so zealous for Jesus in the past because it was all an abstraction. Now, things have gotten frighteningly real. 

From there, Peter descends into more fear—the kind that does not help us to be our best  selves. I depict him going from stunned to defensive and then to belligerent, navigating the  full spectrum of the fight, flight, or freeze responses to a perceived threat. By the time the  cock crows as Jesus predicted (see if you can make out the bird’s faint silhouette in the lower  right-hand corner), Peter probably no longer recognizes himself. He must feel deflated and  ashamed. At the end of his descent he is different, so I depict him differently from his three  prior denials. He has much less fire in his countenance and can’t even open his eyes to face  what he’s done. 

The flames recall the fire where Peter warmed himself, but they also represent purification  and illumination. Peter is forced to see himself as he truly is—as Jesus had already shown  him. Who will he choose to be after this? When we are confronted with who we truly are, who  will we choose to be after that confrontation? As we look at Peter’s journey, it’s my prayer  that we will consider and meditate on our own.

—Rev. T. Denise Anderson

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