The Lord said to Abram, ‘in you all the families of the earth shall be
blessed.’ (Genesis 12:3b)
Each piece of art in this exhibition is a prayer or meditation on all that God
embraces under Abraham’s tent. The artists’ visions are revealed in bold,
bright colors and strong, clean lines; created with the softness of
quilted fabric, lace, and watercolor; yet embracing the hardness of
stones, knives, and graffiti. We see faces that are warm, welcoming,
weathered, and wise. The settings include desert sands and
seawater, open skies and burning flames.
images illustrate stories we have from scripture, the struggles
we face to live in an increasingly interconnected world, and our dream for
Abraham’s tent to be a place of blessing for his descendants—uncountable
as grains of sand, numerous as the stars—and
all the families of the earth.
Today, more than fifty percent of the world’s people are affiliated
with religions that trace their roots to Abraham, first named Abram, called Ibrahim in Arabic. When God called Abram, he responded. When strangers
appeared at his tent, he offered them hospitality. When God asked Abraham
to make the ultimate sacrifice, he submitted. After seeing Abraham’s
supreme faith and commitment, God spared his son Isaac’s life, sending an
angel and a ram.
This past summer, we heard the stories of Abraham and Sarah’s descendants
in the Revised Common Lectionary. Rebekah is discovered for Isaac at a
well. Her son Jacob works for fourteen years to earn the right to marry
Leah and Rachel. Jacob dreams of a ladder to heaven and wrestles with an
angel, building altars of stone to mark these holy places. Jacob's and
Rachel’s youngest son, Joseph, is sold into slavery and later reconciles
with his brothers in Egypt, where their descendants would remain for 400
years until crossing the Red Sea with Moses.
Today, the “promised land” is in the daily news as a place where the
seem unable to coexist in freedom, dignity, and love. Yet, this land is
also the place where
Sufi dervishes whirl in ecstatic communion with the Beloved, and where
Christians make pilgrimage to the spots where our savior Jesus taught,
prayed, and was crucified.
This collection of art calls for harmony among all God’s children,
joyous in our diversity, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons,
connected in a long lineage and a kaleidoscope
of colors, traditions, and prayers that
“all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Bowie Snodgrass, Curator
Faith House Manhattan