Friday, May 31, 2019

“Baptismal Triptych:” A New Piece

"Baptismal Triptych" Edward Riojas. 2019. (Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hankinson, ND)

Copyright © Edward Riojas

Ironically, I was concerned about moisture.

I returned this week from a business/pleasure trip to North Dakota to visit family and to deliver a large piece destined for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hankinson. It rained during much of the 800 mile trek – sometimes with considerable wind. I had used the truck before to deliver an altarpiece in driving rain, and knew that things would remain relatively dry. Still, I’m human. Fretting over a piece into which months of labor have been invested comes naturally to me .

Besides a small damp spot on one corner of a moving blanket, the piece arrived bone dry. The piece, however, is not at all about being bone dry.

We sometimes inoculate ourselves against understanding the goings-on in the sanctuary, and it is always refreshing for me – in simply creating a piece for the sanctuary – to become intimate with what we often take for granted. Taking cues from Luther’s “Flood Prayer” in the Baptismal Rite, visuals in the triptych point to the divine power behind applying a bit of water and speaking the Word.

The water is punishing, and that is an understatement. It is not a simple cleansing; it is not a ceremonial washing; it is not a quaint tradition. Baptism’s water takes the old Adam by the ear and obliterates the sin he bequeathed to his progeny. It takes the world’s filth and drowns it under fathoms of water, preserving just eight souls – pointing to an unfathomable Resurrection on the eighth day. It lures the hardened hearts of a satanic horde into an inescapable death trap, while preserving a helpless, defenseless, ragtag, complain-prone people whose only Hope is in the divine intervention of God Himself.

It is also the unassuming water that cursed Christ Jesus. The insignificant waters of the Jordan drenched our Lord with the sins of the world, taking a burden that we could not begin to bear and laying it on the sinless Son of God.

Because we are so apt to forget; because we are prone to apathy; because we are lazy; because we sometimes want to be entertained on Sunday rather than recall our condition, renew our spirits and rejoice in the salvific act of our Lord, it is my prayer that this piece will help rattle our noggins to the beauty, the solemnity, and the reality of Holy Baptism.

Giclée prints of “Baptismal Triptych” are available for purchase from the artist. The prints are on high-quality Hahnemeuhle fine art paper. They are signed by the artist, but are not framed or matted. To order, or for more information, please contact the artist at

Sizes/prices for “Baptismal Triptych”
18” wide x 17” high  / $110 (U.S.)
24” x 22.5” / $150
32” x 30” / $200
40” x 37.25” / $250

No comments:

Post a Comment