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For the second year in a row, Guelph’s Lakeside Downtown invited about a dozen artists to use their talent to depict the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. One of the unique things about Lakeside Downtown is the number of artists – writers, poets, painters, musicians, storytellers, graphic designers, etc. – that are part of the  congregation.

This year, about 500 people walked through the downtown church plant of Lakeside Church (http://lakesidechurch.ca/) and experienced the various interpretations of Jesus journey from the Garden of Gesthemane to the tomb.

By way of disclosure, Lakeside Downtown is my home church. And my part in the Art of the Cross event was to create a photo journal of what was going on. I’m posting a few of the photos here and the rest can be seen on my Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/kbv3swh)

Phil Irish 1Elora artist Phil Irish created this depiction of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas. Most of the pieces of paper with lips on them came from those attending the event. Phil provided the paper and lipstick and those attending provided the lip prints – making this an interactive piece. For me, it made me wonder if I could, or have, betrayed Christ as easily as Judas.

Community Choir 3The Art of the Cross event was the debut of the Lakeside Downtown Community Choir. Comprised of members of the congregation and the community, the choir provides an opportunity for people to share choral music no matter their faith, or non-faith, background.

Community participationA large cross, made from kraft paper, took up a good part of the floor in the Lakeside Downtown’s gym. Those who came, adults and youth alike, were invited to create their own interpretation of either the event or the Stations of the Cross, making it a truly interactive time of meditation and reflection.

Phil Irish - paletteThis shot of Phil Irish’s palette, for me, sums up everything about the event and my experience as a writer and photographer. It represents the chaos of the artistic process, from the discordant sight-reading of a new piece of music to the mixing of color for a painting. But out of this chaos, through practice, practice, practice – be that rehearsing a section of a piece over and over until it rings out in harmony, painting over a section of a canvas, experimenting with exposures and f/stops, or working on the umpteenth draft of a story – that chaos begins to form a cohesive work of art.

And those cohesive works of art can touch people in a way nothing else can. It can stir emotion. It can evoke questions. It can bring healing. But most of all, and especially in an event such as this, art can reflect to us the cross of Christ.