Picture in Focus: Peter's Vision: "Do Not Call Anything Unclean" by Carl Dixon

January 21, 2024

Picture in Focus: Peter

This week's new mixed media carved wood panel painting from Southern Folk Artist Carl Dixon illustrates a momentous event in the history of the Early Church, when the Apostle Peter had a vision, directing the first Jewish followers of Christ to welcome Gentiles into their emerging faith community. As recorded in the Book of Acts, Chapter 10, Peter was praying on the roof at noon, waiting to eat, when he fell into a trance and saw a sheet lowered from heaven full of all manner of creatures, which dietary laws prohibited Jews from eating. Three times a voice from heaven told Peter to take and eat of the unclean beasts. When he refused, he was told not to call anything unclean that God had made clean. At that moment emissaries from Cornelius, a Gentile centurion seeking conversion, appeared at the door and the meaning of the strange vision became clear. The whimsical menagerie in the lowered sheet commands our attention in Dixon's delightful image of the story, but one significant detail is his depiction of the angelic host with people of color, reminding us there is no discrimination in the Kingdom of Heaven. All are welcome. (John Kohan)