Mother Mary: Queen of Heaven, House of God, Loving Revolutionary
In no time at all, the Christian year will begin with a swirl of mysteries. In the weeks leading up to Christmas morning, we will hear of falling stars, deserts in bloom, and a young woman launching a revolution with a song.
This is the season of Advent, full of vivid images that resist simple explanations. Like a cathedral’s stained glass windows, they can look rather plain from out on the street – but their colors come alive when they’re viewed from within.
So the key question is: how do you get inside a mystery?
The classic scriptures of Advent can help point the way. There the ancient prophets turn to poetry, with its flashes of startling insight (“apocalypse” comes from a Greek word for “reveal”); in the Gospels, Matthew and Luke turn to storytelling; and Mary turns to music.
It’s as if they’re saying, "Listen: the New Year is here, and Jesus is coming. These mysteries aren’t easy to describe, so we’ve pulled out all the stops with poems, stories, and songs. Nothing less will do..."
When it comes to great mysteries, shifting gears into the arts makes perfect sense. The best stories surround and immerse us; music sweeps us up until we’re singing, too. The arts can do that: they transport us inside the action, drawing us in, lifting us up.
Take Mary, for instance. Too many Christians (Protestants are prime suspects here!) engage her only in passing, glancing up from the street at her cathedral window each Christmas between trips to the mall. But her story is a marvel, a treasure, a gift – and Advent is the perfect season to sit with her, to dwell with her a little while...
Greek Orthodox Christians call her “Theotokos” (“House of God”). Roman Catholics celebrate her vital role in salvation history, second only to Jesus himself. The poet Denise Levertov writes of the moment “God waited” for Mary’s courageous Yes, the moment all creation held its breath.
She is the humble, strong singer, the first disciple, the House of God, the indispensable accomplice, the loving revolutionary, the Queen of Heaven. This Advent season, let’s spend some time with her – and let’s do it through the arts that engage our imaginations, drawing us in and lifting us up.
With all of this in mind, SALT is delighted to announce the launch of a new resource this Advent: five beautiful coloring posters that follow Mary’s story along the way to the manger. They’re perfect for Sunday Schools and Bible studies, young beginners or old pros (or even better, both groups together!).
But most of all, they’re perfect for entering the swirling mysteries of the season through color and creativity, together making beautiful new windows through which God’s love can shine.
Advent is full of vivid, evocative images: stars falling, deserts blooming, and a young woman proclaiming God’s revolution of love through song. What better way to encounter and inhabit these images than through creativity and color!
We’re thrilled to announce that SALT has teamed up with illustrator extraordinaire Jordan Sunburg of Tin Cup Design to bring churches and families around the world five extraordinary coloring posters – inspired by this year’s lectionary texts – fit for Advent artists of all ages.
As you well know, coloring pages are everywhere, and for good reason: for young and old alike, coloring can be expressive, meditative, stress-relieving, and just plain fun. SALT’s modern and theologically rich designs invite folks into the season’s deeper meanings and mysteries, and the posters’ large-scale size makes building intergenerational community a cinch, since several people can gather around them and color together.
A rainbow of options await:
- Imagine a coloring station for children inside the sanctuary during worship
- Imagine a Sunday School class gathering around a poster each week of the season, breathing color into hope, peace, joy, and love
- Imagine intergenerational Advent workshops where the posters are colored, discussed, and then displayed as milestones on the journey to the manger
- Imagine an elder care ministry using the posters in a nursing home, or connecting elders and children through crayons and creativity
Getting started is as easy as one, two, three:
- Your digital image file will be available for download immediately upon completing your purchase.
- Email the files to your local printer (Staples and FedEx work great!) and ask to have each poster printed on 4’x3’ “engineering print” paper. Please note: it’s important to stress that you’d like to have it printed on “engineering print” paper and not as a banner; printing all five banners should be less than $40 to print.
- Unleash your community’s imagination and let it shine! And, be sure to send us pictures of your Advent masterpieces - no hiding under bushel baskets allowed!