By Paul Gordon • January 4, 2023
Jenn Wilson, Terra North Adams
Jenn Wilson & Paul Gordon, Terra North Adams
The last few years, Terra Nova as a church family, worked through the gospel of Matthew focusing our attention on Jesus, the eternal King, as He ushered in His kingdom. Last spring, we walked through the One Another series seeing what it means for us to live as citizens of His Kingdom citizens by living out all His “one another” commands.
This fall as a family of churches we will explore more deeply the call to “love one another” by slowing down and entering the Old Testament story of Ruth. This series is timely. We live in a time where love can be so easily misunderstood or misrepresented.
So, we turn our attention to an expert performance on Biblical, selfless love with the hope that the story and person of Ruth can inspire awe and motivation to a watching world and draws us to the same God of love that she knew & trusted.
“Learning to love is inseparable from coming alive as a person.”Paul Miller
Jenn Wilson, of Terra Nova North Adams, is an artist and graphic designer who works as the Marketing & Events Manager at American River Nutrition where she is responsible for their communication and graphic arts. Jenn was born and raised in the Berkshires and also served as an intern at Terra Nova a few years ago. To help us remember this series and its art, we will be giving away stickers that Jenn has designed for us!
There are 4 main elements to the artwork to draw your attention to:
Ruth rarely, if ever, self-promotes. Throughout the story, she essentially disappears to herself to care for and love others. Therefore, Ruth is portrayed through the silhouette of her clothing without any distinguishable characteristics.
Paul Miller, author of A Loving Life, draws out a repeated pattern of Biblical love he calls the “J-Curve”. This begins with a death to self (a descent), followed by a journey through the “valley of death” while one waits for God’s promised restoration. Then, as God always does in time, He lifts the lowly who wait upon Him and gives us a resurrection. And finally, the end God brings us to is always greater, or higher, than where we began as He fully restores in ways that are more than we may ask or imagine.
This J-Curve, or journey of love, is seen in the life of Naomi, Ruth & Boaz — and of course it is the story-arch of the gospel and Jesus’ life. This “J-curve” journey can be seen in the scarf flowing behind the silhouette of Ruth.
Ruth has “bookend” lines on either side of the title. These were added because so often Ruth is overlooked as a small, 4-chapter book, tucked away in between Judges & 1 Samuel. Ruth’s story is preceded by the patriarchs and early leaders of Israel and followed by King David. Yet, hidden between these seemingly more dramatic or importance characters and books (bookends if you will) is the beautiful story of love lived out in Ruth.
Agriculture and grain play a recurring role in the book of Ruth, from the opening famine, on to the provision of food, the relationship of the kinsman redeemer, through the fields and threshing floors and then culminating in the feast at the end. Therefore, not only are stalks of grain shown, but the color palette is drawn from the golden browns of grain and the verdant greens of the earth. Additionally, brown can be the color of famine while green the color of abundance; and both are part of this story and our experiences of living out love. Finally, as a subtle touch, Jenn hid hearts in the heads of the grain because the story is all about love