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“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” — Luke 23:42

Worship and the Arts
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David Gambrell
(800) 728-7228, x5311
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100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Get ideas and guidelines for liturgical art

How does one incorporate art in worship in a way that is faithful to the Word and the Reformed tradition and responsive to the movement of the Spirit and the pastoral needs of the community? Here are some guidelines and ideas.

Responding to the Word: Finding Inspiration in the Lectionary

By David Gambrell

Photograph of two  hands holding a woodcut block.David Gambrell holds a linoleum block carving illustrating John 3:16, "For God so loved the world."

Since I graduated from seminary in 1998, one of my regular spiritual disciplines has been to engage in some kind of creative response to the Revised Common Lectionary. Through the years, this practice has taken a number of different forms: composing hymns and songs, designing liturgical resources, leading a lectionary-based arts seminar, making linoleum block carvings, taking photographs, and writing collects based on the gospel lessons. Regular opportunities to preach have provided another avenue for the creative interpretation of the lectionary scriptures.

Sometimes this spiritual exercise has resulted in work that I have shared with congregations in worship. Sometimes the work is of a more personal nature, better suited to private meditation. Inevitably, however, I find that my understanding of Scripture, my liturgical participation and my theological imagination are profoundly enriched by this discipline. When I immerse myself in the Word with guitar or camera or carving knife or pen in hand, I discover that, by the gift of the Spirit, the Bible speaks to me in new and challenging ways, and I am moved to creative action and reflection. This experience is magnified in beautiful and transforming ways when I am able to talk and worship with others who are engaging the same texts through their own spiritual gifts.

Keep reading

Plan a Pentecost arts festival to celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit in your congregation.


Creative assignments based on the lectionary readings will resume in Advent. In the meantime, show and tell! Email David Gambrell to share your creative reflections on the lectionary, or other liturgical art you have produced.

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