Paul, the apostle, and Barnabas, Paul’s assistant, visited the town of Lystra which was located in what is today the country of Turkey.
After they witnessed a disabled man being healed, the people of Lystra believed Paul and Barnabas to be Greek gods. The people of the town worshiped Zeus. So they brought bouquets and garlands of flowers which was their practice in their religious worship.
However, when they finally realized that the two apostles were mere mortals and not gods, the people became angry and decided to stone Paul who had been the spokesperson.
The painting shows Paul's and Barnabas's names superimposed on the names of the Greek gods. I intended that the viewer would see the names of the gods first and, only upon closer inspection (Like the people of Lystra), would you see the names of the two men.
The columns represent Greek culture. The bouquet of flowers and the pile of stones show what the people brought to the two apostles -- first, to honor them, and then to kill them.
The yellow looping line ties it altogether. And there is a cross in the center where the lines point upward to the two apostles.
This teaches a lesson for all of us -- when presented with the truth and shown the error of their current sacred beliefs, people are prone to feel threatened and react with anger and even attempt to destroy (kill or discredit) those who confront them with the truth.
An example from life today: when American citizens protested against unjust, inhumane treatment of blacks by law enforcement and the criminal justice system, some among those agencies reacted with anger, employing violent tactics, and attempting to discredit the protestors.
A second example is when the Trump supporters turned into an angry mob and stormed the capitol building. They were incited to "take back your country!" Their anger was a result of the false belief that an election had been stolen and their country was being stolen from them.
It is common for people to react with anger and violence when they feel threatened that their beliefs are being attacked.
Have you ever felt as if something you believed in dearly was being threatened?
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