RELIGIOUS ART

Jeremy Thomas

ARTIST

This is a project that I am doing in collaboration with St. Mary's church, Abergavenny. I am producing thirty images that represent key moments in the  Gospels. As each image is finished they will be added to the display within the church. I estimate that this project will take around two years to complete.

Each image will be accompanied by a poem  written by the Sub Prior, Father Tom Bates. The poems are absolutely beautiful and it is a great honour to display them alongside my paintings.

When all of the images are finished  we plan on taking the exhibition on a tour of churches, chapels (of all denominations) and pop up shops... if you belong to a community that would like to display them, then please do get in touch.

© Father Tom Bates

Sacred space,

The ground of heaven’s

Incarnate shape made of polished stone.

All that we know of paradise:

A doorway in the dark,

A billowing curtain,

Edges smudged by clouds

Leading us onward

Leading minds upward.

‘May my prayers rise before you

Like incense, the raising of my hands

As the evening sacrifice.’

So often we reach

So often we grasp

Seeking to discern;

Define a shape.

 

To trace the eternal in our prayers:

The longing of a barren house,

And a faithful servant’s broken heart.

In reaching we surrender

In grasping we hope

In discerning we see.

We see, but things not for human eyes.

Our hands of clay grasped by hands of heaven.

Fallen and falling we are caught up

In more than we dared to hope,

Failed to believe,

And seeing,

the incomprehensible purpose of love

Before which mere mortals

Can do nothing but stand: speechless.

Holy of Holies

Let it Be

The dappled shade of knowledge

Dances like freckles on the innocence of my cheek.

Eyes closed, still I can see the sun burnt on my retina.

The dawn that will break over all things

Cannot be shut out.

 

I can feel the warmth spread over my skin

The delight of its rays sinking beneath, rejoicing into my flesh and bone.

As if all creation were to be willing life,

calling it forth from the recesses of the earth where it has lain cold and dead.

 

The Sun who holds his court,

commands the planets dance and wheels the stars

and even in this cosmic ballet of giants, titans and kings,

Life: something so small inside me stirs in answer to the dance.

 

 

What shadow is this that brings no cool shade but touches my inmost being?

The warm and heavy scent of

Human skin, and hair, warm earth and life itself,

all so irresistible under the spring sun that even the Almighty will take it up.

 

Between two trees the virgin dances and life blossoms into all its fullness,

And our salvation knit within his mother’s womb

takes up the breathing and rooted cross of his flesh.

Let it be, irresistible life. Let it be.

© Father Tom Bates

And the cross shall stand

While the earth still turns

And the harvest grow thick

While the angels sing,

And the Star attests

To both Prophet, Priest and King.

For that single grain

Of humble birth

Beneath the cross

Shall feed the earth,

And be called by name:

‘Bread of Life’

Broken to mend our former strife.

Heaven’s harps in human hands

Strike up a tune to sweep us up

And draw us back across the floor

To the bridegroom

Whose faithfulness we knew before.

That we may know

In this humble grain

The love that is remedy to our pain:

Fulcrum that crushes all our sins,

The axis upon which all the universe spins.

O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Full of hopes and dreams,

At the centre of the dance,

You are ‘least’ by no means.

A single grain,

So small and seeming dead

In the warm dark earth may make its bed.

Foxes their holes,

Birds have their nests

But the Son has no place

To lay his ‘sweet’ head.

How great you are, O tiny one!

How small you were, O Little Lower than the

Angels.

How small we are,

Fallen, and falling…

Yet your plans for us

Our hopes enthralling.

“Least” you became.

“Least of the Least”.

The ‘House of Bread’ brings forth a feast

A table set for those from north and south

From east and west.

Both Jew and Gentile are your guest.

For in this grain contained was,

“By No Means Least’:

Heaven and earth in little space.

When from the earth is lifted up that ear,

All people will flock to hear.

 

By No Means Least

© Father Tom Bates

Poem coming soon.

Poem coming soon.

All Images and words © 2019 Jeremy Thomas

Poems © Father Tom Bates

 

 

All of the images on this website are subject to copyright. If you would like to use them, then please don't hesitate to contact me.