Originally published by the UK office in their Global Magazine here.
In Belgium, a powerful project to share the gospel is underway – using the arts. Several years ago, Gerdine Baaij moved to Belgium and visited an exhibition about Flemish painter Jan van Eyck. Shortly after, she discovered a labyrinth in a local Catholic church, and her creative process started.
Jan van Eyck’s most famous painting is The Lamb of God, depicting the scene in Revelation 5 in which the Lamb of God is worshipped in heaven. This painting is the centerpiece of the Arts Experience Labyrinth, and it sets the theme for the entire experience. The labyrinth is made from portable panels that can be set up wherever the exhibition travels. Each panel tells a piece of the story, printed in vivid color, and every element is important in Flemish culture.
In addition to van Eyck’s painting, the labyrinth also features works from the Flemish Primitives. These painters worked between the 13th and 14th centuries, and their pieces are inspired by Biblical texts. Interspersed with the historical paintings are contemporary works collected specifically for this exhibition. To guide people through the exhibition, the team created Pepijn the Flemish Giant. A cartoonist brought the rabbit breed to life along with other characters, one of whom is a giant – an often-seen character in Belgium.
Special music was also composed to play in the background while people walk through the labyrinth. There is also the ability for other artforms, such as dance, to be incorporated if the venue allows. All these elements come together to create a stunning experience that leads people to encounter Jesus in a unique way. They are arranged in such a way that they walk visitors through the metanarrative of Scripture, touching on creation, the fall, redemption, and restoration.
The hope and prayer for this exhibition is that people will come and be moved by the story of The Lamb of God. The gospel is presented without overtly evangelizing those who come, but rather by allowing them to experience the story themselves in a novel way. Those who may not be willing to talk about Jesus otherwise may in this way hear the truth. The project has also brought together the Protestant and Catholic churches in the area in a new way. Historically, they have not worked together, but the labyrinth has provided a way for them to collaborate. The team had a test exhibition to see how things would go and what needed to be improved, and they now have a full exhibition that started in June. Entry to the entire exhibition will be offered for free wherever it travels, as the heart of the team is to honour the Flemish culture and give the people something beautiful.
The Lord has already worked mightily to bring this project together, even in spite of the pandemic. The lives of those planning it have been influenced, and they are eager to see how the Holy Spirit will move as the exhibition begins. The gospel is beautiful, and it is showcased in this fantastic work of artistry. By experiencing the beauty of the art in the labyrinth, people will experience the goodness of the Lamb of God. May He be honored and glorified and may many hear of His love through this exhibition!
If you are in Europe and interested in going to see the exhibition, find out where they are by visiting this website!