Days of Creation Banners

On Sunday, January 11, 2015, our new Days of Creation banners were placed on the walls in the sanctuary and shared with our New Hope family for the first time. Detailed info on each banner is available below.

History

During the days of the early church, the great stories and truths of the Bible were taught through stained glass, tapestries, and artwork housed in places of worship. As in ancient times, our contemporary world is a visual world where what we see impacts our understanding of God and the truths of His Word. The Days of Creation continue in this great tradition as a gift of love to the people of New Hope and for future generations to more clearly understand the first great event of the Bible, God’s magnificent work of Creation.

Each banner has been created with common products and in a similar manner. The entire project has taken hundreds of hours and encompassed the labor and consulting of gifted and talented members and friends of New Hope. What follows is an explanation of the symbolism stitched into these banners. These have not been created as just art, but instead have been individually and lovingly hand-crafted as a tool for teaching and inspiration. The great hope throughout this project is that Jesus would be glorified throughout the process and in the finished project. Soli Deo Gloria (for the Glory of God).

common threadsThe Common Threads

While each banner offers a different picture of creation, they all are held together by common threads. In particular, there are a number of symbolic similarities which all eight (8) share.

First, all of the squares are created from 5” x 5” blocks. The number 5, as used in the Bible, often is a reference to the Law of Moses. The Law is also referred to as the Pentateuch (“penta” = 5) because of the number of writings included: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Secondly, each banner is composed of three layers (front, batting, and backing). These layers are secured by three crosses, though visible on the back, are invisible on the front. These layers remind us of the Trinity, the three in one unity of God. The three crosses bring to mind not only Calvary, but also the perfect completion of God’s work of salvation not only for believers, but also His world.

Third, the Hebrew letter for “H” is presented throughout the entire group of banners. The letter “H” or the “het” is shaped like an open door. It is an important letter in that it begins the Hebrew word “hayim” which means life. It is also the letter which begins the words in Hebrew for wisdom, righteousness, and grace. When viewing the “doorways” of the banners, they are a remembrance to us that in God alone, we have life which comes through His wisdom, righteousness, and grace as expressed in the act of the cross.

Finally, each backing fabric compliments the message being expressed on the front. While these banners are not meant to be reversible, they could be with a few adjustments. Most, when reversed, are dominated by the presence of the three crosses. The echo of the cross throughout all creation begins in Genesis 1 and is re-expressed in the Gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The presence of the cross overshadows all of God’s work in creation and history. It remains the central point of time and God’s interaction with all that He has made.

creation banner 0Day 0 FORMLESS

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Genesis 1:1-2 KJV

This first banner is located on the left rear wall of the sanctuary. It is composed of black and blue fabric which is “organized” to represent chaos…no rhythm, no structure, and no order. It is on the palette of nothing and from the chaos of “formless and void” that God begins his creative work. The backing of this piece is three darkened fabric representing the presence of the Triune God with the stitching of the crosses as a foreshadowing in the mind of God even before the beginning of time. (As an interesting side note, these squares are held together with antique black matte beads which are a part of a family heirloom. These beads belonged to a family of committed Presbyterian believers. It is a delight to know that a piece of history has been incorporated into this new placement at New Hope.) 

creation banner 1Day 1 DARKNESS – LIGHT

“And God said, ‘Let there be light…’” Genesis 1:4 KJV

This second banner is located on the rear side of the left wall. It is a simple and yet, profound banner. It is in this first act of God that we find the dichotomy of all history into light and dark, good and bad, friend or foe. We also see that not all whites are pure and not all blacks void of hue. God begins to express His personality in the variations of shading. This banner continues the use of the antique black matte beads, while also being secured by tiny, clear Swarovski crystals.

creation banner 2Day 2 SKY – WATER

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.” Genesis 1:6-7 ESV

God’s voice continues to speak into creation as He separated the skies from the waters. This third banner is located on the front side of the left sanctuary wall. It is a collection of various “sky” and “water” fabrics which represent the division of what is above from that which is below. The horizon is clearly seen as God calls for a separation. Water squares are further illumined with sparks of light reflecting off of colored Swarovski crystals which are imbedded within the design.

creation banner 3Day 3 EARTH – SEAS – PLANTS

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together… and let the dry land appear. And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, herb, and fruit trees…’” Genesis 1:9-11 KJV

To the left of the pulpit, the first signs of life appear. God spoke and the seas retreated from the lands as plants begin to grow. Varied fabrics are used to depict this separation of the land and seas. A single plant serves as a token of horticultural delights which flowed from the touch of the Almighty. On this day and in this act, the processes of life and breath began. By looking carefully between the watery stitches, Swarovski crystals continue to add a sparkle of light to this third day of creation.

creation banner 4Day 4 SUN – MOON – STARS

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the heaven to divide the day from the night’… And God made two great lights… and He made stars also.” Genesis 1:14-18 KJV

To the right of the pulpit, the banner portrays the completion of the heavens. God was not content with light and dark or with simply leaving the heavens unadorned. Instead, He placed the sun and the moon in the heavens to give us the rhythm of days and seasons. By them, He established the movement of time and wound the clock of history into motion. This banner moves from lightness to darkness and is filled with the colors of dusk and dawn. The watery squares are again highlighted with colored Swarovski crystals and the sky twinkles with star-shaped buttons. The backing consists of a complex design of sun, moon, and stars in a fabric which combines all into one timeless, yet motionless image.

creation banner 5Day 5 TEEMING WITH BIRDS AND FISH

“And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth.’” Genesis 1:20 KJV

Seven (7) birds and thirteen (13) fish embellish this banner located on the front right side wall of the sanctuary. The birds are doves and represent “purity” in the Bible. They were also an animal of sacrifice which could be used to cover a believer’s sins during Old Testament days. The fish on this banner are modeled after the tilapia galilea or “St. Peter’s fish” which was common in the Sea of Galilee during Jesus’ time. An interesting note is the interplay of the numbers “7” and “13.” While “7” is seen as complete, perfect, and pure, the number “13” carries the connotation of evil and impending doom. Within the “Days of Creation,” this is the only place where the fall of creation is referenced. The backing fabrics repeat the dove and fish theme.

creation banner 6Day 6 MAN AND WOMAN

“And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature…’ And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…in the image of God created He him; male and female   created He them.’” Genesis 1:24-27 KJV

On Day 6, God brought forth the animals and humanity. The Bible tells us that all the creatures of the land were created on this day. However, it took special acts of God to create man and woman, in His own image, in relationship with not only each other, but also, with Himself. God breathed His Spirit into man, which makes us different than animals. The Day 6 banner is located on the rear right side wall of the sanctuary. This image speaks of relationship, beauty, and calm with the first couple hand in hand, side by side, walking in the presence of the illuminating light of God. The back panel of this banner includes a land animal fabric as a reminder that all living creatures upon the earth were created on this day.

creation banner 7Day 7 REST

“And on the seventh day, God ended His work…and He rested.” Genesis 2:2 KJV

This final banner is located on the right rear wall. All that was chaos is now in order. The fabrics which were used in “Day 1 FORMLESS” are now arranged in balanced, orderly patterns drawing our attention to the “finished” planet Earth. The backing fabric depicts an array of planets, stars, and suns on the backdrop of the universe. Adorning this banner are antique black beads like those used on the first banner, blue beads used throughout the process of creation, and pearls which refocus our attention to the perfection of Jesus, the purity of His gift of salvation, and the gates of heaven where all things will again be made new and perfect in the presence of God forever and ever.