Interpretive reflections by the artist, Jewell McGhee
The water imagery reflects biblical references to waters and floods as instruments of judgment (Genesis 6–9; Exodus 14–15) and metaphors for suffering (Psalm 18:4, 16; 32:6; 42:7; 69:1, 14–15; 144:7). In his death, Jesus entered the deep waters of divine judgment for us and willingly plunged into the flood of our suffering and evil. By emerging from that baptism unto death as victor over death, Jesus’ cross and resurrection have become for us an anchor of strength and hope in the midst of our suffering.
In the beginning, the sin of Adam and Eve at the tree of knowing good and evil brought judgment and death (Genesis 3), and, like the dead tree in the banner, Jesus stripped himself of his own glory to submit to that judgment and death for our sake on the “tree” of the cross (Deuteronomy 21:23; Acts 5:30, 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24). But his death conquered death, and thus revealed him to be the Creator who has restored mankind’s original life and destiny by an act of new creation. The living, green tree in the banner is a symbol of Jesus’ life emerging triumphant out of death, which will one day heal the whole broken creation and bring it to full bloom in maturity and glory (cf. the tree of life in the new heavens and the new earth, which is a biblical symbol of this future: Revelation 22:1–5). The two letters on the banner are the Greek letters Alpha and Omega because the events we celebrate in Lent reveal Jesus to be the Beginning (Alpha) and the End (Omega) of all of creation and all of history.
All artwork © Jewell McGhee, 2012