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The LaGrave Funeral Pall

Johannes & Carolyn

The funeral pall is simply a large cloth that covers the casket and is used by many families and churches. While palls originally were black and meant to symbolize mourning, this pall symbolizes resurrection and demonstrates the equality that all people of faith share in the hope of resurrection. When we place the pall with the cross over the casket we say that our loved one has finally been made clean and perfect through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This pall came about when one of the pastors of our church, LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church suggested having a pall for the church that reflects some of the artistic elements of the sanctuary. The stained glass windows in our church are particularly beautiful. My design for the project was well received, and I began bringing my ideas into reality. This project was a venture into new art territory for me—fabric and crewel work. After I finished the stitching, my daughter Carolyn did the critical work of sewing all the parts and pieces together into the final completed pall. My wife Millie and daughter Leanne also provided a lot of help in perfecting the art of the design. Concept Some of the design elements are taken from the windows in the sanctuary of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church. At the center of the cross design on the pall is the yellow and red halo design, used in every instance where Christ is pictured in the windows. The following explains my thinking on the details of the pall. God’s Love for Us, How Far He Removes Our Sins The overall design shape is the cross; because Christ gave his life on the cross we are forgiven. In the cross are images of the river of life and the vine. The background colors of the short ‘arms’ of the cross represent sunrise to sunset. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:11, 12 Creation Each end of the long sections of the cross are earth tones. From dust we were created—to dust we will return. Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. … Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground… —Genesis 2:7 & 19 Forgiveness The size of the Pall is 7’ x 11’—the reason for this size is that this represents Christ’s statements on forgiveness. When Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive, Jesus replies “seventy-seven times,” (7 x 11 = 77). Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times. Jesus answered. “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”—Matthew 18:21-22 Jesus also made this statement regarding forgiving others: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”—Matthew 6:14-15 Healing The concept of the ‘river’ within the short arms of the cross comes from the following verse: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. —Revelation 22:1,2 Being In Christ The long sections of the cross have background colors that represent going from earth to the glory of heaven. The vine lies over the colors and represents our connection with Christ the Vine. If we remain connected to that Vine we bear fruit for him and we glorify God the Father in Christ. I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. ... No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ... If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” —John 15: 5

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth:
  • Medium: Fabric
  • Width: 7'
  • Year created: 2017
  • Height: 11'