the New Year
This reflection on today's Gospel was written and painted by Linda Richardson, a mixed media artist who creates images to coordinate with poetry. It is part of her book of responses to the poetry in Waiting on the Word, by British poet Malcolm Guite. (https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com)
Rise! O, ever rise! Rise like a cloud of incense from the earth!
Great Hierarch! Tell thou, the silent sky and tell the stars and tell yon rising sun that Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God. (except from "Hymn Before Sunrise" by ST Coleridge)
Anyone who has ever had a “glance” of God wants to share the experience. It is like running home to show your family the beautiful butterfly you have captured in your cupped hands but when you get there it has escaped and all you have are impressions and words. In the gospel of John we hear Andrew’s response after he meets Jesus: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.”
Words and images have power to point to an experience but they aren’t the experience itself. What we really want to do is bring people to experience what we have experienced, to bring them to Jesus like Andrew brought his brother, (to bring them to the Holy Mountain). In my little painting, the mountain sits above the words, the words point to the mountain. God’s promise is that if we seek, we will find. Talking about God is good but if we don’t also open ourselves to be transformed by the experience of God, (Rise, O ever rise..), we remain in doctrine and dogma which, although essential, only has the power to point.