Chalk artist sets tone for Holy Week at Canton UMC

George Browning

Canton United Methodist Church kicked off Holy Week by hosting Scottsburg chalk artist John Lowry.

Lowry used his personal testimony and his gift of story telling through chalk art to share God’s love at the Palm Sunday service. The event is the first of three services organized by Canton, New Hope United Methodist and Pekin United Methodist this week.

New Hope will host a prayer service Tuesday and Pekin UMC will host a Good Friday service.

Lowry said he grew up with disabilities that lead to him shying away from being around other children. Being an introvert, he developed a passion for drawing and art.

That passion is something God has used throughout the course of Lowry’s life to tell His story of grace, redemption and love. That was the case Sunday and Lowry did a chalk drawing of “The Scourging.”

“The scourging was designed to inflict pain without causing death, but most people who reviewed what Jesus went through, say not many could have survived even that part of it,” Lowry said. “Christ endured that for us to be set free from death, not only so we could spend an eternity with him, but so we could share that with others!”

Lowry was emotional as he talked about the torture Christ endured and how he looked down on the people who looked on as he hung on the cross and even pondered how he looked past them.

“Even in all that pain,” Lowry said, “he looked through time and history and saw you and me and said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!’”

Besides the Easter/Passover message of John 3:16, Lowry encouraged those in attendance that because of God’s love for us, no matter what life lays out before us, we need to press on.

He shared how early on during the pandemic he was diagnosed with COVID-19, sent to Clark Memorial Hospital where they did not expect him to make it.

Lowry said he spent a significant amount of time in the Intensive Care Unit.

“I was at peace that they didn’t expect me to leave the hospital,” he said.

He gradually improved and left the ICU and went to a transition unit and before he knew it, he was leaving Clark headed to a rehab center in Scottsburg. “As I left the room, they raised my bed because there was something they wanted me to see,” Lowry said. “Doctors and nurses had lined the hall and were clapping, not for me, but because they witnessed a miracle! When you see God perform a miracle you become overwhelmed with joy. Easter morning, the tomb is empty and we should be overwhelmed with joy because of that miracle!”

Tuesday’s prayer service at New Hope formally gets underway at 6:30 p.m., but will feature various stations set up throughout the church, so those who would like to come and spend time in prayer are invited to do so anytime between 6:30 and 8 p.m.

The sanctuary will be a station for self-serve communion and reflection with soft music playing. Clergy will be available should you want to be prayed for or with.

There will be a station designed for repentance, where those who are carrying things with them can spend time with God and deal with those issues.

Another prayer station will focus on forgiveness.

There will also be prayer stations focusing our minds on praying for others, praying for us as clay pots to be formed and used by the potter as well as our individual stories being woven into the larger fabric of God’s narrative.

Stay for as little or as long as you like and visit one or all of the prayer stations as you like.

Then on Friday night at 7 at Pekin UMC, Pastor Christopher White will lead The Service of Tenebrae, which is based on a 12th-century service and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ. During this time of mediation, you will be able hear the words from the Bible, and get an understanding of the life of Christ. It will bring an understanding of the importance of your life and service to your local church.

New Hope UMC is located at 4957 W. State Road 60. Pastor George Browning can be reached at 812-620-3849.

Pekin UMC is located at 244 S. Shorts Corner Rd. Pastor Christopher White can be reached at 812-967-4682.


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