A NOTE FROM DR. LABBERTON
I am drawn to abstract art, and love the work of master artist Makoto Fujimura, whose "Tears of Christ" we are privileged to represent here. When I first saw this piece, and learned its title, I was deeply moved by the profound layers of beauty and suffering embodied in it. What appealed to me was the vivid intensity of it, the expression that portrays not a two-dimensional caricature of the core event of our faith, but a rich, multi-layered experience of beauty, imagination, empathy, compassion, and hope. That's quite a lot for one painting to contain.
When Mako started painting in traditional Nihonga tradition, "beauty" was not a word spoken in the world of art without contempt; yet he eschewed the fleeting enthusiasms of that trend and built his work with his soul as guide. This, to me, is clearly evident in this painting which merges so beautifully our shared faith and the richly layered beauty therein. I am so happy that we are able to use it for all the printed materials relating to my inauguration as the fifth president of Fuller Theological Seminary. I can think of no more elegant companion to my inaugural theme to "have this mind among you" (Philippians 2:1-11), than this, and I am grateful to my friend Mako for the gift of its use.