Today, for confirmation, we had a special presentation. We had a man come from St. John's College and Benedictine Abbey to tell us about the St. John's Bible project. So we had all of our 7th through 9th graders and invited adults from the congregation as well.
I don't know how many of you have heard of the St. John's Bible. It is the first handwritten Bible commissioned since the 1500's. It set to be completed in 2009, and is housed at the Benedictine Abbey in the middle of the prairie lands of Minnesota.
The primary artist for the St. John's Bible is Donald Jackson. He is the chief calligrapher for Queen Elizabeth. When he was 12 or 13 years old, he set as one of his life goals to make a handwritten Bible. Now he is in in his 50s and the end of his goal is in sight. Our presenter said that in England, he is as famous as a rock star! Imagine!
Everyone sat in rapt attention to hear the story of the paper, the quill, the inks, and all of the things that were chosen especially so that this Bible would last 1500 years. We saw some of the artwork and talked about the possible meanings of the images. For example, in one of the pages, where some of the parables of Luke are pictured, there is also an image of the Twin Towers. The artist wanted to send a visual message that we will never overcome evil with hate and violence, but through the love and forgiveness which Jesus lived and died.
The first image he showed us was that of creation. He had us look in silence for 2 minutes, and then turn to the person next to us and tell them what we saw. As we discussed the creation, we saw images both ancient and modern, the seven days of creation, and the "big bang", and a thin ribbon of gold in each day, to represent the presence of God.
At the end of the presentation, the presenter invited people to stay and look at a replica of the Gospels and Acts. For twenty minutes after the end of the program, youth and adults looked at page after page of images and calligraphy.
The book, when completed, will be divided into seven books. One book, all put together, would weigh over 400 pounds. It will be two feet tall and three feet thick.