When was the last time you realized you had been looking at something completely wrong?

At least at the time I’m writing this (no reason to think it won’t happen again before you read this!), for me it happened earlier today when I read about a new art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

It’s called Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color, and examines the role of color in Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, or “polychromy.”

The immediate revelation is that far from being blank, white stone, ancient sculpture was covered in vibrant color and embellishment.

Maybe this doesn’t blow your mind, but it did mine. 

All these years I’ve been seeing these classic sculptures all wrong. Or at least, not as they were intended to be seen. And I’ve been making certain assumptions about the world in which they were created. 

It turns out that the ancient world was much more colorful than I ever thought to consider. Or rather, ancient people were more colorful—their minds, their dreams, their beauty, their art. 

In a way this is what all good art does: reveal new depth to our world, rich and vibrant color where we didn’t see it before. It’s not that the world is different after we see it, but we are. 

This is what I hope happens to us within the church. 

That scripture and tradition, ritual and music, community and companionship, like powerful art (or art exhibits), would add depth and color to places in our lives and our world that before seemed flat and dull. 

In a way, this is what we mean by “repentance.” Not just coming to see things differently, but more accurately. It isn’t just the process through which we confess our transgressions, although that is surely an important part. 

It’s a wholesale change in perspective we hope a life of faith will bring.

We see beauty where before there was chaos. 

We see compassion where before there was indifference. 

We see hope where before there was cruelty. 

It’s not the world that has changed—these things have always been there. It’s we who are different. 

Praise God. 



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