lenten presence

1CvanVoorst- Untitled- 2019

Lent ( the 40 days before Easter) is traditionally a time in which we are to consider our vulnerability and fallibility as human beings. I was asked to contribute to a small booklet of Lenten reflections which is edited by the Rev. Meagan Crosby Shearer who is priest to the Emmaus Community and St Matthias Anglican Church in Victoria BC, Canada. I was asked to share a reflection on three ancient texts that are readings for March 29th in Lent. Hosea14:1–9; Psalm 81; Mark 12:28–34

Here is my response:

God’s love is not only for the perfect, for the unblemished, the strong; it is also for the unfaithful, the complaining, the weak and the wayward. God’s love tests us, and even though enemies surround us,  love holds all of it- the dust, the dark, the songs, the cries, the joy, the sorrow.

The art I am currently making features  roses expressively drawn in ink. My recent work has become a sort of testimony to  my negotiating life with a disability – a complex form of PTSD.  There are many times when I wish I could be free of this complication so I might be more successful in life professionally and relationally. But the irony is I would not be facing pain if I did not love. The reality is, that for all of us, life to some degree or another is a mixed bag of hurt and happiness, freedom and burden and for us to try and separate our experience into the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, leaves us outside of what love is supposed to do: hold our earthly experience tenderly and boldly so that life is complete.

This picture illustrates the swirl, confusion and beauty in which we humans find ourselves within our lived experience.  I chose this picture because I can see in it the roots, branches, and flower of God’s promise of healing in Hosea 14: 4-8.  Sometimes the image appears to be the mark of a tear in the dust; or it could be a tree pushing upwards even though twisted and hindered with roots deep in the ground. Light is present, sometimes brightly, sometimes murkily, but from within the dark there emerges the perennial symbol of the presence of love.