Come to the Table
by Johanna Giesbrecht – Yarn and metal.
As we were approaching our “Fixed on Jesus” sermon series I was part of a discussion about how each of us come to worship together with our own thoughts and feelings; we come with our own theories about life and our spirituality. This is represented in the variety of colours and texture of this piece.
We often fool ourselves into believing that every person around us sees the world as we do and it is a shock when we uncover the ways that we differ. This shock can often result in trying to push out the voices that are different and lift up the voices that best match our own.
The questions were, “how do we make space for God?”… “how do we keep God at the centre of it all?”
This piece was born out of that conversation. It is the idea of a round table where every voice is allowed a seat and that a important part of making space for God means making space for each other.
Rooted In Love
by Krista Heide – acrylic and collage on canvas, 16″ x 20″
When I choose to embark on a reflective painting, I come with a hint of an idea. For this particular piece, I came with the idea of Ephesians 3: 17, “being rooted and grounded in love.” I allowed myself to become curious about this imagery. How would this look collectively? What is the basis of love that we can draw from? How would growing into love connect us to one another?
I decided to begin with a heart. I spent a few hours combing through scriptures and an old hymnal, collecting and cutting out passages that spoke of love. God as love, loving our neighbour, loving our enemy, love bearing all things, enduring all things, hoping all things, love never gives up, being slow to speak and quick to listen, bearing one another in love, love is patient and kind, the fruit of the spirit, etc. These words and songs represent the well from which we can draw from. The legacy of love that is so beautifully demonstrated in God’s deep self emptying love for us, and in the songs our tradition has formed in reflecting on this beauty.
Once the heart was created, it came time for the trees. I began painting individual tree trunks – each tree representing a different person in our community. Many beautiful people, choosing to live lives alongside one another. Walking with one another. Witnessing each others journey. Seeing, and encouraging one another towards growth.
Then came the roots. As I began to paint the roots I could see that as these trees would dig deeper into their source of life (love / God), the roots would become enmeshed. Entangled with one another in the quest to drink deeply from love. The taller and stronger these trees would grow, the harder it would be to be able to decipher where the roots of one tree ended and another began. Deep, unseen connection.
And then the canopy. Have you ever noticed how trees growing next to each other need to make space to accommodate one another? The branches dance – finding new pathways, making space for their neighbour, all extending outwards and upwards, farther towards the light. A canopy extending far and wide, providing coverage, shelter, shade. And fruit.
Fruit. The result reaching deep into love, and extending wide and tall towards light. Fruit is a beautiful offering — ready to be extended, freely offered anyone who come near. This outward giving is not the source of love, but rather the expression of deep roots. Giving of this fruit does not have to exhaust the trees, for deep roots connected to an unending source mean a new crop of fruit is always at hand.
This is my prayer for our community. That we can dig deep into love. Loving God through choosing to love one another. That on this journey towards love, our roots can become enmeshed, and our branches can make space for one another, creating a canopy that can provide shade and protection for anyone who needs, and fruit that we can freely offer to anyone who comes hungry, knowing that our God, our source and giver of love is limitless.
Lord, let it be so.
God Have Mercy On the Middle
by Stephanie Woelke
As we have grappled with diversity, we have (understandably) mainly given voice to those with diverse views. However, I wanted to express something which represented the experience of being somewhere in the middle and validate that experience as a place of wrestling conscience and sifting new information as opposed to passive ambivalence. Here’s the poem:
God have mercy on the middle
With arms stretched up to the sky
Unable to reach,
Intercept or even
Your lob pass
Your lob pass
Don’t mistake my empty hands
As feeble or small minded
I heard you
I heard you
And was compelled by your humanity
More than your arguments
I will not be hurried onto any bandwagon
With my skirt getting caught in the wheel
Of anyone’s sureness of their own insight
Or confidence in what knowledge can be gained
From a mountaintop either born on or travailed to
Because I heard what you said
I heard what you said
(Both going back to the original, cultural, metaphorical, literal meaning which is right there staring back at us if the lighting is just right and you squint just a little….)
Don’t mistake me
I learned a long time ago that
Certainty can be a bully
But passivity a silent witness
And Harm is done both ways
Let me be clear
I want no part of that
But for now I must stay here with my arms
stretched right out
Reaching straight up
Wrestling this side
Wrestling this sideI will search for wisdom
I will search for compassion
until I can cradle peace
and hold it to my chest
God have mercy on the middle
Beating Through a Wall
Sherry Ansloos also shared a poem for us (it was read on March 4 during the gathering) and it was previously posted here.