Not knowing how to make himself understood, God came to earth himself, poor and humble. If Christ Jesus had not lived among us, God would remain far off, inaccessible. Jesus allows us to see God shining through his life. (5)
I originally painted this as part of a series on Mary of Magdala (John ch 20 ),
when the person she thinks is the gardener finally calls her by name...
I had spent days...weeks... trying to visualize that part of the story...
thinking that it must have taken Mary some time to really turn around from her grief and wailing compounded by the fear that Jesus' tomb had been desecrated and his body removed.
I wanted to try and portray that initial surprise, an in-drawn breath,
part of her mind must have been saying "how do you know my name ?"
even though a deeper level of herself actually recognized his voice.
Surely, I thought, there must have been an "in between" moment
when time stood still: 'but how can that be...?"
and then her mind began to adjust to the "impossible"...
and that moment was what I tried to convey in this painting.
But when my husband first saw the painting, he thought it depicted the Annunciation.
He saw the bright background as the presence of the Angel Gabriel, and then Jesus' mother Mary reacting in surprise, wondering just what this could mean...
another in-between moment when time stood still and her mind needed to adjust to the impossible "how can this be...? "
I find it fascinating when people react in very different ways to a painting... and so I offer it to you... perhaps you see something different ? I would love to know if it communicates something to you...
do leave me a comment... I will not publish your name or email address:
your comment will come direct to me
and if you do not wish me to make it public on this blog,
then just say so and it will be for my eyes only.
Just after writing this blog I received an email sharing another blog on the Annunciation with paintings for reflection... "the pause before yes" by Debbie Thomas: http://www.journeywithjesus.net/
Now for the final verse of Catherine Alder's poem Advent Hands...
the first verse invited us to imagine the hands of Joseph, then we moved on to envisage the hands of John the Baptist in verse 2; But whose are these hands ... ?
"I see a fist held
tight and fingers blanched to white. Prying is no easy task. These fingers find a way of pulling back to old
positions, protecting all that was and is. Blanched to white. No openness. All fright. But then the Spirit comes. A holy Christmas dance begins and blows between the twisted paths. This fist opens slowly, gently, beautifully, the twisted fingers letting go. Their rock-solid place in line has eased. And one by one the fingers lift True colour is returned And through the deepest of mysteries, The holiest of holies, O longing of longings Beyond all human imagining this fist, as if awakened from Lazarus’ cold stone dream reaches out to hold the tiny newborn hand of
second verse of the poem: Advent Hands by Catherine Alder:
the hands of John the Baptist
I see the hands of John,
worn from desert raging storms
and plucking locusts from sand ripped rocks
beneath the remnant of a Bethlehem star.
A howling wind like some lost wolf
cries out beneath the moon,
or was that John?
enough to make a grown man mad.
He’s waiting for this, God’s whisper.
“Go now. He is coming.
You have prepared your hands enough.
Go. He needs your servant hands,
your cupping hands to lift the water,
and place his feet upon the path to service and to death.
Go now, John, and open your hands to him.
It is time.”