CHRISTIAN FAITH COMMUNITIES have long integrated art into their houses of worship. Whether in stained glass windows, sculptures, paintings or other art forms, this art is an important way to visually connect worshipers with Scripture, with foundational teachings.
This week, Holy Week, I consider the art of churches I’ve visited in my area of southern Minnesota. Aged sanctuaries graced with connective and inspiring art. I never tire of stepping inside a rural church or meandering through a country cemetery to view faith-focused art. It’s beautiful in its own way, often in the visual storytelling of events documented in the Bible.
As a woman of faith, the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection on Easter morning make this week particularly meaningful.
From Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane to The Last Supper to his betrayal by Judas and then his crucifixion and resurrection, the events of Christ’s final days unfold in art inside sanctuaries and on cemetery grounds.
I feel a certain reverence for the artists who designed and crafted stained glass windows that rise high inside sanctuaries, sunlight streaming through colorful glass. It’s almost as if the beauty therein beams directly from heaven, filling dark souls with light.
Likewise, statues, most often found in Catholic churches, add a down-to-earth human element in their life-sized presence. I have the urge to reach out, to touch a hand or a face, to offer comfort, to extend compassion. Art, especially faith-based art, holds that power.
Whether centering an altar or hanging on a church fellowship hall wall, biblically-based artwork is an important part of Christianity. I appreciate the ornate and the simplistic. The oversized and the understated. The all of it, uplifting, inspiring, moving me.
During this Holy Week, I reflect on the art gracing churches throughout my region. Art that truly is a spiritual treasure. Art that carries a heritage of faith.
© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
these are absolutely beautiful and so stunning. houses of worship have always been a place of art used as a form of expression of the universe and it’s miracles that go beyond man. I especially am taken with stained glass as it lets the beautiful light in –
I’m with you on the stained glass. Randy took classes in stained glass art and has created several pieces and also repaired several windows in our church. Once he retires, I’m hopeful he will take up this craft again.
I agree. This faith art is beautiful.
Thank you for sharing this artwork, focusing on Holy Week.
You are welcome. It seemed a good time to showcase some of this faith-based art.
I love everything about churches, especially the old churches with stained glass and wood pews. I could visit churches all day long.
I love that we share this love of churches, and much more.
Garden of Gethsemene has always been a special favorite of mine and stained glass? there aren’t enough words – big thank you’s to Randy for repairing. I remember when it was brought out that the St. Mary’s Chapel windows needed repairing, a fund was started. A world without stained glass, makes me shiver. When I went to Germany, the Altenberger Dom and the Cologne Cathedral were trip highlights. Thank heavens for digital cameras!
Yes, it’s difficult to imagine a world without the beauty of stained glass art.
Thanks for the tour. Loved it. We have the Stations of the cross in our church ,St Mary’s in Caledonia from Bavaria 1925 they were installed. We are going to celebrate our 150 this year. 1873 – 2023.
Whenever I’m in Caledonia again, I will need to look for your church. Congratulations on celebrating 150 years. That’s a long legacy of faith.
Would love to meet up with you when you are in our area.
Thank you, Janene. Contact info saved. I don’t know when I will be in Caledonia again, but will definitely try to connect with you when I am.