30" x 40"
Oil on Canvas
He knocked with urgency more than once or twice. “May I now enter here?” he asked.
“Will He within open to wretched me even though I have been an undeserving rebel? If you let me in, I won’t fail to sing His lasting praise!" At last a serious-looking man named Goodwill came to the gate. “Who is there?” he asked. “And what do you want?”
Christian hung his head, “It is me a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction but I am going to Mount Zion so I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I have been told, sir, that this wicket gate leads to my destination. Are you willing to let me enter?”
“I am willing with all my heart,” said he. With that he opened the gate…
…[Christian] “I went as far as I dared to locate Mr. Legality, until I came to the mountain (Sinai) that stands by his house. I feared it would fall upon my head… so I was forced to stop.”
“It is just as well you escaped it, or it may have dashed you to pieces,” Goodwill said. “That mountain has been the death of many and will be the death of many more.”…”There are many paths that connect to this narrow way but they are crooked and wide, you must distinguish the right way from the wrong, by paying attention to which is straight and narrow.”
From Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
This painting is not intended to illustrate the text of Bunyan’s allegory, but rather to illuminate it. Literalists beware. Elements are out of sequence and additions interrupt the original flow of the narrative. And to this end, I’ve called an unlikely family of birds to descend on our scene. They are my tour guides, welcoming travelers new to this tale, taking them through the wicket gate and into territories unknown. My friends are shape-shifters from ancient Christian symbolism, my own imaginings… and perhaps, from the other side of town. The rooster—bold and brazen with un-fancy faith (like Peter); the owl—wise with lonely Calvary-witness and stealth in purpose; the doves—rising with hope, purity, and playful mischief. Nourished by the Tree of Life, the family will retrace for you the wanderings of Pilgrim (shining light on his path). Let their work encourage you, beckon you, rebuke, and persuade you. They know they narrow way… and it leads to Life.