art

Authority of the Messiah

Acrylic and pen on canvas / Jennifer Neal / copyright 2016

Acrylic and pen on canvas / Jennifer Neal / copyright 2016

Yes, the crown is upside down. I painted it that way because it reminds me that when the Messiah comes to us, when he is born into humanity, he brings a kind of authority and order that takes our understanding of power and righteousness and turns it upside down. What kind of authority rules out of humble, vulnerable circumstances? What kind of King honors the outcast, sick, dirty, and diseased? What ruler has the capacity to see the full substance of people behind the distorting facades of wealth, position, and access to power, or oppression, imprisonment, and abuse? How do love, mercy, and sacrifice establish a Kingdom?

This artwork is an attempt to engage those questions, and affirm that Jesus ushers in a kingdom that takes much of what we understand and turns it upside down and backwards from generation to generation throughout time and place. Every name of the lineage of Jesus as recorded in Luke has been included on this canvas, with at least one letter of every name turned upside down to represent both the separation of humanity from God and the turning of humanity towards Him through Christ. If you look carefully through all the layers of names from all the generations you can see God behind it all, at the beginning.