Category Archives: Artwork

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

IMG_1137I’ve been doing drawn meditations based off of scripture or spiritual pieces.  I’m attracted to texts that come from other times of social disruption, those scary, creative times when the range of possibilities opens wide and people find new ways to seek God.  This seems to be the moment we’re in now, and I’ve been looking back at a much earlier moment that has some profound similarities.  The Early Church period was full of contrasting ideas about Jesus, full of argument, really, but also full of some beautiful expressions of piety and wonder.  God had come down and dwelt among us, which meant that people could claim, really for the first time in Monotheism, that they had met God, touched God, smelled and heard God.  It was an extravagant notion, and some unknown early Christians responded with this extravagant prayer, which was found in Nag Hammadi in 1945.  I found it in A New New Testament, Hal Taussig, ed.

1 This is the prayer they said: We give thanks to you, every life and heart stretches toward you, O name untroubled, honored with the name of God, praised with the name of Father. 2 To everyone and everything comes the kindness of the Father, and love and desire. 3 And if there is a sweet and simple teaching, it gifts us mind, word, and knowledge: mind, that we may understand you; word, that we may interpret you; knowledge, that we may know you. 4 We rejoice and are enlightened by your knowledge. We rejoice that you have taught us about yourself. 5 We rejoice that in the body you have made us divine6 through your knowledge. 6 The thanksgiving of the human who reaches you is this alone: that we know you. 7 We have known you, O light of mind. O light of life, we have known you. 8 O womb of all that grows, we have known you. 9 O womb pregnant with the nature of the Father, we have known you. 10 O never-ending endurance of the Father who gives birth, so we worship your goodness. 11 One wish we ask: we wish to be protected in knowledge. 12 One protection we desire: that we not stumble in this life.   13 When they said these things in prayer, they welcomed one another, and they went to eat their holy food, which had no blood in it.

Taussig, Hal (2013-03-05). A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts (p. 8). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

And here’s the text of my meditation, which can also be found scribbled in the picture above:

Name untroubled, we have known you.  We have known you when you curled your limbs, as only a child can curl her limbs.  We have known you as we once knew ourselves, when we were small and weak. A knowing before memory.  A knowing that only we can know.  And we know that this is your one pure gift – to give us to ourselves.  And so, Thanksgiving,  Great All-Being, smallest source of everything, who knows and anoints our knowing.

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The Fig Tree Canticle

Here’s a painting, or actually two paintings, that I’ve been working on for the last few weeks.  They’re really meant to be an entry into prayer, a meditation on Luke 13 and Mark 11, on the apocalyptic imagery in Jesus’s language and the call to redemption.  Many of the visual ideas come from the Rothschild Canticles, the late medieval prayer book that I’m absolutely fascinated by.  The figure on the right is from a photo that appeared in F.A.M.E. NYC Magazine, of a businessman fleeing ground zero on September 11th, 2001.  I couldn’t find an attribution, and don’t know who took it, but appreciate the photographer and the image.

fig tree canticle painting

The Beatitudes

Here’s a small watercolor sketch (with some photo effects) that I created as part of the Sur’mount’ing the Mount project at Summit UMC.  My friend Meghan, who’s a dancer, noted that “the physical representation [of the Beatitudes] is reaching, exploration of opposites.”  I read this after I’d created my painting, but was pleased by how well Meghan’s thoughts seem to fit the image.

beatitudes

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Amy at Breakfast

Amy at breakfast

Christ plays in ten thousand places

It’s a week early to be thinking about Easter, but I created this poster for our campus ministry to use during the Easter season, and thought I’d share it now.  I’m using the faces of friends and loved ones in these images, sometimes, as in this one, standing in for the figure of Christ.  But I think that Gerard Manley Hopkins gives me permission, in these last lines from “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”:

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace; that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is –
Christ.  For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Easter