Brilliantly standing out in the middle of the School of Theology Library is “HEAL,” (2014) an original silk screen print by American artist Robert Indiana (b. 1928–). Donated anonymously, this breathtaking print will make its permanent home within our library. The story of how HEAL came to the BU School of Theology Library is about more than just a few people and colorful ink on paper. HEAL has a deep theological foundation. It is a gift to the BUSTH community. May it serve as a reminder of the tender presence and care of divine Love, enabling you to love and to be loved, to hope, to heal and to be healed.
The Hebrew Bible refers to love hundreds of times. Christ Jesus exemplified the love of God and healed countless people. The New Testament records the gospel message, “God is Love” (I John 4:8b) and Christians have embraced, studied, prayed with, preached, lived, and healed with the power of love throughout the ages. Christian Science, founded by Mary Baker Eddy, so emphasizes God’s love that the quote, “God is Love”, is written in almost every single Christian Science church sanctuary, and healing is central to the faith tradition.
Robert Indiana saw the quote, “God is Love”, in the churches of his youth, and eventually created LOVE, one of the most iconic pieces of pop art ever produced. It has spread all over the world and has been translated into multiple languages. Years later, based on LOVE, Indiana created HOPE and then HEAL. Boston gallery owners, moved by Indiana’s work, curated and displayed his art, trusting that someone would buy and/or donate it to an organization that would be benefitted by the message.
BTI students organized a conference dedicated to the topic of healing, and welcomed all types of submissions. Fellow students responded with sermons, papers, and workshops, and one student who happened to see Indiana’s work at the gallery proposed a display for the conference. BUSTH and BU staff embraced the idea, collaborating with students and the gallery to host LOVE, HOPE, and HEAL. A few people who heard about the display offered to donate HEAL to BUSTH, and invited the school community to contribute toward the acquisition. Many responded.
May you find your own inspiration in the multi-faceted story and art of Love, hope, and healing.
More information on Robert Indiana, and the inspiration behind his world famous LOVE print, can be found here.