Bishop Street Methodist Church

Art at the Chapel Explorations into Art and Spirituality

Your Kingdom Come



Finding the Sacred in the Common Place

Photographs and Meditations by Ruth Joy

The juxtaposition of religious with everyday items encourages us to draw on our symbolic understanding of each object and create new connections and layers of personal meaning.

The significance of ‘religious’ objects can sometimes remain in the confines of the church building and create a sense of disconnect with our everyday lives. In the same way, if God stays ‘symbolically’ shut in the church a separation between faith and life may arise. These images can act as a reminder of the God who came down from heaven to walk alongside us on earth and is present with us in each aspect of our lives and not just when we are in Church.

The stark technical approach of the images, almost like product shots for a magazine, removes any sense of mystery from the objects. Divesting from them their ‘aura’ of holiness and separating the objects from their traditional setting will hopefully enable us to see them afresh and reflect on  what they mean in the context of our everyday lived experience.

“Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven” is not only a prayer for God to intervene in our troubles and mess but also a personal call to action. God’s Kingdom is often found in the everyday situation, a quiet act of kindness, someone reaching out to help another person, finding simple ways to live a greener life to look after creation.

Each image has a short guided meditation to aid reflection. There is no ‘correct’ interpretation of each image as our faith journeys, life experience and ideas are all unique. The meditations are present to  encourage the flow of our thoughts, give ideas to ponder and raise questions for us to consider.

title 1 b


1 wordle bThen Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:33-35

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

… Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 1 Corinthians  11:23-24



title 2


wordle 2Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1




title 3


wordle 3

I can do all this through him who
gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, Colossians 3:23

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17




title 4

wordle 4Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13




title 5


wordle 5
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8: 31-32

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! Psalm 96:3

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, Luke 24:45







title 6



wordle 6Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:12

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

“You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. Exodus 23:1

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32





breadBread and Money: Jesus sacrificed his body to give us life. Many times in life all we give back is a few coins as the offering is passed around, when in truth we are asked to give our whole lives. Chris

Makes me think of the verse from Jeremiah: Why do you spend your money on that which is not bread / does not satisfy. Makes me wonder how greedy I am or what choices I make in my life that have affects on others e.g. fairtrade or environmental concerns or other ethical choices. Also makes me wonder what are my ‘appetites’ in life? What do I find myself craving or needing? Why do I want those things? Do they actually feed me? What would feed me better? What appetites does God want me to have? Lizzie



Chalice and Rubbish: The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Makes me think about how Jesus showed us that true holiness isn’t about ‘keeping ourselves apart’ from the world. It’s about being a light in the darkness. It also makes me think about how some people feel too sinful or full of doubt to approach God or go to church or receive communion, but it’s precisely when we feel like that that we’re most in the right place. I came to call sinners, not the righteous. God doesn’t ever want us to wait until we feel clean enough or worthy enough to approach him. In the story of the prodigal son Jesus shows a God who comes running out to meet us and hugs us not matter how unworthy or ‘dirty’ we are and no matter how much we’ve messed up. Lizzie

This image hit me the most. Jesus purposefully spent his life surrounded by grubbiest of society and gave his blood so that in our dirtiness we can become pure before God. Jesus’ perfection is never spoiled by being amongst the mess of this world. If we are to reflect Jesus, we need to be amongst the most downtrodden, outcast, and broken in our city. Chris



Candle and Books: Psalm 119 You shall light my candle. The picture makes me think about how there is a difference between ‘knowing about God’ and ‘knowing God’. You can read about a person but now know them personally. It reminds me that I can encounter God through reading the Bible and Christian books but there also comes a time to put down all books and listen to what God is saying to me personally on this day of my life, a time to put aside all words and efforts at listening to God and simply sit with him in silence. Lizzie

The peace and sanctity of coming to Jesus can become overshadowed with the business of life, but in the centre He is still shining as bright as ever – we just need to make space. Chris



Icon and Tools: Reminds me that Jesus was a carpenter and had a normal job in his community. Icons often make Jesus and Christian saints look ‘ethereal’ but Jesus and the saints were very ‘down to earth’. God doesn’t want us to float around feeling and looking all ‘saintly’ like the images we see in icons and religious paintings and stained glass windows. He wants us to be holy in our everyday realities – sat in front of the computer, driving to work, putting our children to bed. He wants us to see him in ‘ordinariness’ and to see the spiritual importance of our ordinary lives and activities. Lizzie

You might feel like a pile of bits but God has created you with everything you need. With God at the centre of your life all of the loose bits will start to make sense and build something beautiful. Chris 


bibleBible and Wires: Makes me think of the verse to Martha, “You are distracted by many things but only one thing is necessary”. Makes me think about my life balance – how much time each day or week do I switch off all noise and electronic devices and enter a slower pace with God. It also makes me think about ‘tuning into’ God and staying open to God’s ‘frequency’ or ‘feed’ throughout the day. Lizzie
Sometimes reading the bible feels like a mess, either I realise I am in a mess, or what I’m reading doesn’t seem to make sense. But once the truth inside is unraveled, it can be a direct wire to our creator. Chris



Cross and Newspaper: Two things come to mind: The Kingdom of God is of power not of words. Also the picture says something to me of the hope of the cross in the midst of all the horrible things we read in the news. It also makes me think of the relevance of Jesus and the cross each new day. God has existed from the very beginning but he’s also always doing new things, expanding our understanding of him and the world, and as ‘current’ as tomorrow’s newspaper. Lizzie

There were many lies and false reports spoken about Jesus and his name is constantly misrepresented. Yet he willingly hung on the cross for everyone who ever spoke against him. Chris

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