Real Wealth Society

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thinking about art By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after April 13th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about art. Actually I’ve been thinking about beauty, St. Johns, the Erickson family, memorials/ remembering/ honoring, peace, and joy. Presently there is so much happening in the world that is negative, hateful, and destructive to the human spirit that we so often forget (or choose to ignore) the counterbalancing side to the human condition which builds our spirits, and gives us the strength to cope and continue on. Sometimes we need to stop and appreciate the things of beauty, of hope, of love, and of peace which are there to enrich and to strengthen us.

You see this past Sunday my little hometown congregation of St. Johns Lutheran Church in Creston officially became the permanent home of “I have prepared a place for you,” the latest creation of artist, illustrator, and muralist extraordinaire - Randy Halverson. This roughly four foot by thirteen foot mural surrealistically depicts the Christ figure with outstretched arms walking on air from the golden heavenly place he has prepared for us to the earth below. The clouds to the right and left subtlety suggest people and angels in prayer. It is truly an inspirational masterpiece.

This marks the fourth Halverson mural painting/ creation in our area. His “Life of Christ” and “The Last Supper” can be viewed in Trinity Lutheran Church in DeKalb. His outdoor work “Communiversity” (which commemorates DeKalb’s Sesquicentennial) can be seen when driving to the West on the Lincoln Highway in the downtown area. Art is often used to celebrate memorials, remembrances, and commemorations. Art in churches plays a major role in Western Civilization.

The Erickson family has a long history in the Creston area and at St. Johns Lutheran Church. The mural is the gift of the surviving seven children of Clarence and Mary Alice Erickson and their families. It is given in their parents’ memory and the memory of their brother, Lt. Colonel Alan Erickson, USAF. It is a fitting tribute to a wonderful couple who served their community and their church in so many ways. It honors a brother who served his country in Korea and Germany. Clarence Erickson was selected to receive Creston’s Annual Cederholm Award for Community Service in 1997. He was unable to participate in those festivities as he remained by the side of his very ill wife who passed away just weeks later. He joined her in death the following year. Their son, Alan, joined them in 1999.

It is a common tradition that families remember and honor their parents with memorials and/ or gifts to their communities. This is in keeping with the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God has given thee.” The gift to St. Johns is a truly beautiful additional to the church sanctuary. It is all the more special in that the artist, Randy Halverson, is both the grandson of Clarence and Mary Alice, and the nephew of Lt. Colonel Alan Erickson. After the dedication service, which was part of the Sunday worship; the family, guests, and members of the congregation joined together in fellowship for a meal together. It was a celebration of remembrance and sharing. We often forget how we draw upon our family, our friends, our neighbors, our communities for strength, for love, and for support in times of challenge.

As the members and guests took one last look at the newest addition to St. Johns before leaving the church, you could literally sense the love and joy and peace that they felt. They “knew” that Jesus the Christ had prepared a place for them as depicted by the mural. I thought of the words from John Keats epic “Endymion” written in 1818 and how they captured the essence and spirit of this dedication day: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2008 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.


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