Relief Wall, is a 2018 liturgical artwork by Maja Lisa Engelhardt in collaboration with her spouse, Peter Brandes. It is a 31-by-18-foot gold relief sculpture which arguably depicts the moment of Christ emerging from the tomb. The sculpture is a plaster cast gilded with different karats of gold. The most pure 24 karat gold is reserved for the central form which causes the middle to glow more brightly than the rest. It is permanently installed in Biola University's Calvary Chapel making it liturgical art.

The Undepictable Resurrection by Fred Sanders on September 3, 2018

Messiaen’s commentary on XV. Le baiser de l’Enfant-Jésus (The kiss of the child Jesus):

“At each communion the child Jesus sleeps with us near the door, then he opens it onto the garden and runs into the light to embrace us…

Theme of God in a lullaby. Sleep – the garden – arms outstretched toward love – the kiss – the shadow of the kiss. An etching inspired me, representing the child Jesus leaving the arms of his mother to kiss little sister Theresa. All this is a symbol of communion, of divine love. One must love to love both this subject and this music, which should be as tender as the heart of the sky – and there is nothing else.”

Today is the beginning of a new theme for the week, joy. If Christ's arrival forebodes His death, then it must celebrate His resurrection as well. There is great joy to welcome any child into the world but this child brings the hope of joy for all humanity.

The music and artwork speak to the joy of Christ's embrace. Like the music, the artwork does not depict Christ standing with open arms. It is an abstraction. It is hard to say it depicts anything. Perhaps it is an image of the open tomb or a veil of glory that blinds Mary in the garden.

How can joy be depicted in art? Henry de Montherlant coined the maxim, "Happiness writes white," to say that joyous moments in novels are often invisible to the reader. Abstraction allows for personal interpretation rather than a didactic representation of the artist's individual image of Christ glorified; the glory is a warm glowing golden aura, the notes of the piano are strange and beautiful at once. Perhaps abstraction is a good strategy for presenting joy to the viewer.

At the same time, I cannot ignore the difficulty of the music around the seven minute mark. One of the goals I have for this Advent is to focus on parts of the Christmas story but to never forget the details of the entire gospel. It is easy to see joy in Christ's birth and His miracles because those are the nice things. What about the times when Christ challenges me? When the music is not so kind to my ears? Can I see joy in those harsh textures near the fringe of the sculpture?

Is there more relief in the Relief Wall, than mere carved imprints?