The Fresco of the Running Father

This part of the Sabbatical was all about the frescoes.

Ben Long is an artist whose medium is the fresco. He has created a group of frescoes using this ancient practice in North Carolina in both public spaces and churches. My best friend and I did a three day road trip to see these frescoes.

The frescoes in churches were usually on the wall behind the altar so that they greeted you as you entered the worship space and were the focal point throughout worship.  Imagine celebrating Holy Eucharist with a lively fresco of that meal inviting you to be a part of that first communion with Jesus and his disciples.

One of these frescoes is in the chapel of Montreat College and is inspired by the parable of the prodigal son. The jealous brother. The dancing servants. The ecstatic father. The fresco features each detail of the parable.

It’s the gospel appointed in the daily office for today, Luke 15. 11-32.

I am struck that this scripture was selected to be the place of a kind of lectio divina in a space where college students gather–men and women who are in a time in their lives when they are especially searching for the meaning of life.  Do they feel like prodigals?  Like dancing servants?  Like jealous brothers or sisters?  Do we?

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