This is from the dedication of the Anastasis banner for Easter at Park Church in Grand Rapids. To see other posts about this banner, enter 'Anastasis' in the search area at the top of the blog.
When I was invited to design a new Easter banner for Park Church, I knew it had to be something that would complement the ‘poems in stone and glass’ that are the church building of Park. There is a rich history of art and faith that needed to be considered.
Through conversations with Bets Casey and Rev. Todd Perry and research into Easter imagery, I developed some sketches and a vision for this banner which I hope will visually sing the Easter Hallelujahs.
In the early Christian church, icons were considered sacred doorways into the divine. Icons titled ANASTASIS- literally ‘to stand again’ tell the resurrection story. I incorporated elements from ancient icons into the Park Church Easter banner.
This Easter banner I created includes the entire story of salvation, not just the reanimation of Christ but the complete package of the salvation story. The cross is there, but instead of a symbol of torture, humiliation and death, it has become a symbol of triumph. The critical element is the open, empty tomb and the stone rolled away . Through it Christ conquered death and so shall we! Also, here, as in the ancient icons of the story, there are witnesses. They could be disciples, or saints who have gone before or they could be a choir of angels. Whoever they are, they are a cloud of witnesses to the story.
The sun on the left rises and sheds light on the scene, but the light also emanates from Christ- the Light of the world- who is our source of light. The Greek letters in his halo say, “I AM WHO I AM.” There is a shine and glimmer in many of the fabrics which catch and reflect the light.
Christ is robed in white and gold. This speaks to his purity and holiness. His hands and feet bear the scars of the crucifixion. His face is aglow. His arms are lifted in proclamation and welcome. He stands firmly and also steps forward toward us. The backdrop of white and beige fields of flowers celebrates the cycle of life, the three lilies could be allusions to the Trinity. From early times, lilies were symbols of purity used in depictions of the annunciation. They suggest the plan of God from the beginning and the start of the salvation story in Jesus birth from the Virgin Mary. Also in groups of three on either side of the banner are striped pillars vertically suggesting strength and the Trinity and also echoing the architecture of the sanctuary of Park Church.
I am honored to have been chosen to create this banner and making it has enriched my faith journey and my art skills. I hope that it will add a visual hallelujah to the Easter worship and bless the celebrants of this great salvation.