When I suffered with intense loneliness, my former pastor encouraged me to use my artistic gifts to visually express my feelings of rejection, anger, sorrow, regret, unattractiveness, physical needs, isolation, grief, and fear of what may be ahead. These feelings are most of the ingredients that I recognize as part of loneliness’ assault against the soul. Throughout the creation of collages, I called on the Lord to restore my soul. With groanings that I could not articulate, I appealed to the Holy Spirit to intercede for me before the Throne of Grace. I found that these artistic meditations helped me in the midst of my struggles. The collages in this series were all created from paper magazine images. Some were scratched into and some drawn upon. The main objective of these collages was to see God as he was actually revealing himself to me: through this psalm. Timothy Keller has stated that the Book of Psalms is one of the books that Jesus quotes more than any other in the Bible. “The psalms were not simply sung by Jesus; they are also about Jesus.” This is a truth that has continued to keep me in the rich study of his Word. —Nicora Gangi
Nicora Gangi was educated at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA (BFA 1974 and MFA 1976). She was a Professor of Art at Syracuse University for 29 years. Gangi has been awarded many Grand Prize and First Place awards and grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. She has been and continues to be published in numerous artist books on pastel paintings. She has lectured regionally and nationally as a visiting artist at universities and artist’s guilds. She is represented in the USA by: MME Fine Art, New York,NY, Bender Gallery, Asheville, NC, LM Gallery, Saratoga, WY. http://nicoragangi.com
Ever since Nicora Gangi told me about me her process of actively meditating on the Psalms through collages and color, it has lingered as an ideal and natural way to grow in one’s faith and creative life. I’ve always longed for simple ways to infuse the Bible and creative activities into daily life, and I can’t think of a better example than Nicora’s. Creating a musical response to her series of meditations on Psalm 13 gave me an opportunity to “sit” in Psalm 13 and contemplate the psalmist’s words and Nicora’s response. At the same time, perhaps not coincidentally, I was playing music with my toddler Walter and started to sing “Just Am I”, open on the hymnal on our piano, playing around with a more introspective style. Next to the hymnal on the stand were Nicora’s images. Over the next few weeks, the stories of Psalm 13, Nicora’s meditation, and “Just I Am” wove together and felt like a natural extension of one another. —Jonathon Roberts
Jonathon Roberts is a composer and performer from Wisconsin living in Beacon, NY, USA. By day he writes music for slot machines, by night, the Bible. With his wife, Emily Clare Zempel, he collaborates on music and theatre projects, and founded the arts non-profit Spark and Echo Arts. His style was shaped by studying at Lawrence University, touring the country in an RV as the Apostle Paul, performing in an absurdist downtown NYC music/theatre ensemble, and being father to Walter and Alvin. http://jonathonroberts.com
Psalm 13New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
- Psalm 13:1 In Hebrew texts 13:1-6 is numbered 13:2-6.