The story behind Good Shepherd’s
Stations of the Cross icons
Adorning the side aisles of the nave of the church are beautiful replicas of the Stations of the Cross, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond E. Brush, communicants of Good Shepherd.
Susan Brush, the artist who created this work of art, says she didn’t feel “capable or worthy of such a project” but that “God used my talents and the pictures evolved.” Susan explained that in the icons Jesus appears on the whole as a solitary figure, with other people appearing only as they associate with Him. Although surrounded by people, it was a lonely trip. He is depicted faceless, inviting the viewers’ imagination. In two stations — where Veronica wipes Jesus’ face and where Jesus is stripped of his garments —there is a suggestion of features, because the viewer comes face to face with him. What the figures lack in detail, they make up for in the concentration on movement and mood. Each painting exhibits symbolism in both color and design. His white robe is for purity, while the red sash represents the blood of the cross. The backgrounds are all purple for Lent except in the fourth station, where Jesus meets Mary, and in the thirteenth station, where Mary holds His body; in both, blue is used to signify His mother.
On the eighth station, Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. Four figures are shown to depict all things earthly. The colors represent fire, earth, air, and water. There also are four people, to represent our earthly weakness, in the scene where Jesus is nailed to the cross. The Crucifixion shows three crosses depicting the Trinity.
The icons are made of mahogany, and the oil colors are diluted and rubbed into the wood. As the artist explains, “In the Crucifixion scene the natural light coming down from top to me signifies God’s working with me.”
This work of art, installed in 1987, was created out of a love for the parish and in thanksgiving for the artist’s family.
Excerpted from A history of The Church of the Good Shepherd: The Anglo-Catholic Parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina by Agnes Lee Clawson
Copies of the history are available for sale for $15 per copy at the church; all proceeds go to Harvest Hope Food Bank.
Join us at 5:30 each Friday during Lent for the Stations of the Cross and the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.