Transformative Power of Art | Part 5

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Portraits Of Resurrection


While serving with Saddleback Berlin, we had the opportunity to visit to a home for refugees, partnering on a monthly Local PEACE outreach. There, we served the refugees we met through an art project called Portraits of Resurrection. It is an art project we ran at Saddleback Lake Forest just a few months earlier during Easter. This project uses images of flowers to speak symbolically about our resurrected lives in Christ. One of our ministry leaders searched through the scriptures to align the visuals of the art with verses from the Bible. One in particular gives a beautiful illustration of what resurrection looks like, rooted in a passage from the Apostle Paul:

You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant […] The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different […] Same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!

1 Corinthians 15:37, 38, 43-44 (MSG) PoRrefugee2

The image we gave out that afternoon to the refugees began as a print of flowers, but we spent a few minutes with the people, sitting face to face with them, drawing their eyes into these flowers. We married the image of the flowers with their unique identity, giving it to them as a gift. We shared with them the message that Jesus Christ died for us and offers to pull us out of death and into a vibrant new life with Him. Our art revealed the new-life parallel of what we see happen every spring when lifeless plants come back into full color and bloom.

So, in the yard of the refugee home our team drew the eyes of men, women, and children from Syria, Egypt, Kenya, and Russia that were seeking a new beginning, a new life. This experience of an artist taking the time to sit with them and carefully look in their eyes was new. It was perhaps a gift unlike any they had ever received.

It was a gift of being valued and treasured. It was a gift of time and love.


Sitting for a portrait was a dignifying experience that gave them joy and hope. And the picture could be a reminder of the new life they are offered in Christ. As Saddleback Berlin continued to visit on Local PEACE, it would also be a reminder that the door to loving community was always open.

During our PEACE trip to Saddleback Berlin, we modeled how to use arts for Local PEACE through Portraits of Resurrection just as we showed how art could be used as an outreach to the city through Everyday Icons. We also showed how art and creativity could be used within the church family. Our team hosted a Floral Gathering for women of Saddleback Berlin and facilitated Art for Healing for one of Saddleback Berlin’s small groups.

Next week, read how a new art practice of SVA helped a small group come to a place of deeper connection.

Written by Jason Leith 

Edited by Steven Homestead

This post is part of a series that shares how God transformed community through a group of SVA artists on mission in Europe with Saddleback Church’s PEACE Plan. 


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