Last Supper reflections

Maundy Thursday. Holy Thursday. Covenant Thursday. Thursday of Mysteries. It is the Thursday before Easter that Christians remember the Last Supper.

Jesus prepared a sparse room for a plain meal with His disciples. He broke bread and shared it with them saying “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Can you imagine your host saying something like this to you after giving you food to eat? This teacher you have been following so faithfully? He has said many strange things the past three years, but certainly this tops them all! How unsettling. How….. sad.

Then He passes around a wine goblet and said “Take and drink. This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” It must hit them by now. In “remembrance” of Him? Is he going somewhere? Body and blood? No doubt the mood was somber. Surely the disciples were somewhat shaken and confused. I would have been.

But then imagine what Jesus knew at that time. What emotions were going through Him as he broke the bread and as he poured the wine?

I took the photo above of a crown of thorns plant reflected in a communion chalice. I wanted to imagine what Jesus saw when he looked into the cup. Suffering. Pain. Sharp needles from the crown of thorns. Under the surface, blood and sacrifice. A price to pay. A price I will not have to pay.

After this photo hung in on our church wall for a couple weeks, someone pointed out that it was neat how I placed a cross in the center of the reflection. I never saw it until then. It is a reflection from the translucent ceiling in our church sanctuary. Amazing.

This Easter holiday, look into the cup of blessing. What do you see?

“My blood shed for you”

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Church of the Servant scenes series

Chalice by Mary Doezema & paten by Don Doezema


Heaven is calling: don’t wait for the bus.



I’m re-posting this blog entry as a response to a post in the High Calling Focus blog entitled “Live in, not of:”

“Tell us, what do you know of living in the world and not of it? How do you engage the world around you through your photography? Show us a photo you’ve taken that has changed your perspective on the world in which you live.”

On a weekend get away this past March, I drove past an (apparently) abandoned bus and deserted church building in Saginaw, Michigan. I saw it for perhaps a second or two, but knew I needed to turn the car around and take an image of this scene.

Sometimes I will take a photo as a split-second decision, reacting to a gut instinct I have about the scene before me–only to process it more fully later on.

It’s later on…  What struck me here was the irony in the word “Deliverance.” As if the empty bus and church could deliver me from some thing, some how, some way… I’m sure many holy happenings were had on this bus and in this church. But as I thought about it some more, it struck me that as well intentioned human activities and institutions are–they really don’t “deliver.” Spiritually, that is.

Only God can change a heart. Only He can save. Only an authentic relationship with Him ultimately matters. Churches and spiritual activities are very important, very important. But often I think we mistake attendance and activity for relationship. And that is what this image reminds me of.

Only God delivers, so don’t wait for the bus.

Wood metal and paint images at Center Art Gallery

I am honored that the Calvin Center Art Gallery is hosting a series of my photos now through May 27!

Here is the announcement:

From April 4-May 27 the Center Art Gallery presents Bill Vriesema’s “wood, metal & paint series” of photographs in the hallway gallery of the Covenant Fine Arts Center.    He writes, “rotting wood, rusty metal, and chipping paint are all signs of neglect and decay. Yet, taken out of their larger context and isolated by the lens, bold color, patterns and texture show a beauty that we often miss.”
Bill has been shooting photographs for almost 40 years and is currently on the CIT staff here at Calvin College.
For those of you who cannot see these in person, I am including them here on my blog:

photocrati gallery

Towards the unknown

Last year this time we were visiting my son at the University of Arizona. We took a trip up to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We got up before sunrise and were rewarded with the view in this post. There was one mountain after another, each succesive one a less clear than the previous due to the atmospheric haze.

In a way, it is the perfect image to describe how I am feeling lately about the future…unsure of the unknown. The details between each mountain are unclear, making the trip from here to the next one uncertain. From where I stand all I can see is a sharp drop in front of me, for sure implying that the journey will be challenging. It always is.

But yet, the sun is illuminating the entire scene. When I turn around I see mountains I have already crossed, trails I have already walked. Of course those details are all in plain view–I have already been there. However, the looking backwards gives hope for the path ahead…towards the unknown.