The Revised Common Lectionary is a commonly agreed upon series of scripture readings for each Sunday to be used during corporate worship throughout the liturgical year. The readings include an Old Testament passage, a Psalm; one from the Book of Acts, the Epistles or the Book of Revelation, and concludes with a passage from one of the gospels. The readings run in three-year cycles starting on the first Sunday of Advent and concluding on the Reign of Christ Sunday. The purpose of the artwork that accompanies each gospel reading is to invite people into a deeper experience of God’s presence in their lives and the life of the world by shedding light on one aspect of the day’s scripture reading.

Artist James Paterson (b. 1957) was born in Saskatchewan and grew up in the Kensington Market area of Toronto. He received a BFA from the University of Waterloo and taught art at the elementary and high school levels before leaving to pursue art full time. Among his best-known works are folk art pieces featuring Canadian icons such as stylized Mounties, hockey players, loons and Canada geese. Underlying his whimsical treatment of Canadian themes is the notion of the Canadian predisposition for order and position.

Paterson probes beyond the shell of order and normalcy to suggest a deeper, inner life in which mundane, repressed, everyday personalities emerge from the shadows to show their true colors, their truer selves. In addition to Canadian icons, much of Paterson’s work contains biblical imagery. His aim is that in all of his art .would be redemptive – an allegory on ordinary life that reveals the reality of God in the world. His art probes the decisions individuals face about how we live our lives, how we fit into the system and questions about individuality. Like the media he uses, his style is also varied: sometimes primitive, naïve or whimsical; other times more realistic or representational.

The two works here are part of his series of fiftyfour paintings, commissioned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, James illuminates the Gospel reading for each week of the Revised Common Lectionary cycle B. His hope is that those who see these paintings will experience the gospel stories and the life of Jesus in a fresh way and be able to bring Him into the context of their own lives. Contact James See his Revised Common Lectionary paintings at