by lefever on August 23, 2011
I sat in a church listening to a preacher speak on the doctrine of hell saying that too many people shy away from the discussion but he was going to lay it out for us… that to shy away from the doctrine of hell is to be embarrassed of Jesus.
This is an evangelical Bible study church. I probably should not have wandered on such an important subject as this, but I wondered why the walls were blank… and imagined how I might paint a Judgment scene on the front wall.
Not an original idea.
The preacher also alluded to the Catholic Church being soft on the doctrine of hell, quoting Pope John Paul II in some speech (the quote was out of context so I can not comment to its use in the preacher’s sermon).
To claim that the subject is not approached and that the Catholics in particular are soft is to ignore a few places built in the past where the subject was obvious in the very architecture.
Entrance to many a church and a Cathedral required the passing under a Judgment scene depicting people being cast into the maw of a monstrous death, or boiling in pots stirred by demon antagonists. The Sistine Chapel back wall itself is a Judgment scene by Michelangelo – the Sistine Chapel where each successive Pope is elected.
I traveled to Albi France specifically to photograph St. Cecile for her Judgment Wall–a unique muraled wall that separates the alter table and the Host Chapel.
Tell me that the Doctrine of Hell not being presented in any major or permanent way at St. Cecile- in a way that lives long after words fade? Talk about a reminder (every time one enters for communion and mass).
How wonderful that I had this image to draw on as the pastor spoke, and I felt sorry that there was nothing so powerful on the wall before us other than beige behind a stage of musical instruments. At least he was laying out the message…
I doubt though that a painted vista of judgment would have stopped those folks looking around or preoccupied by other things since they heard this message before, but I know my eye would land continuously on this image as my ears took in the preacher’s words. And I also know that my mind would be slower to return to the images of daily life around me after viewing such a image as it would likely burn itself into my brain and imagination as had the image from St. Cecile in Albi.
Oddly that scene made its way to this church today, but I am the only one seeing it.