On Sunday night I went to Chester St. Uniting's gorgeous Space for God service especially to hear a Filipino artist called Emmanuel Garibay talk about his work. I don't know what led me to go, as I usually spend my Sunday evenings at MCC Good Shepherd, but I am so glad I did.
Mr. Garibay's art is based around religious themes, and the slides he showed really blew me away - vibrant, emotional images of Christian iconography re-cast in a Filipino cultural context. And so we witnessed the holy family as peasant Filipino farmers, and Christ himself represented, not only as a woman, but as a bar hostess at that, replete with wounds! Garibay's vision is absolutely unique, and I found the whole experience deeply moving and ultimately inspiring. I was especially taken with his Christ crucified - not on the cross, but on a crowded suburban bus, his arms spread out from safety strap to luggage rack.
I only wish I'd remembered to bring my spectacles, so I could have absorbed more of the detail in the images. As the organiser, Rod Pattenden, pointed out, this was visual prayer at its very best.
This was what church should really be about - spontaneous, transformative experiences based around art and culture. It's made me even more enthusiastic about exploring new forms of worship, ones less concerned with obscure liturgy and meaningless recitation of creeds, and more concerned with genuine spiritual experience, no matter what shape it might take.