Tag Archives: Artwork

Between the Lines: Lent 2: March 4, 2012

Text:  Mark 8:31-38

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

Crumpled paper

Crumpled paper (Photo credit: myPhotoshopBrushes)

Take a moment, and some art materials, and put on paper some expression of the thing, the relationship, the character that you want to save.  Express as best you can those aspects of your life that you value, cherish, and wish to preserve.

Put that paper in front of you, and spend some time with it.

Then pick it up, and lose it.  Tear it up or put it in the trash or take a crayon and disfigure the images.

Sit quietly for a moment, and consider what you might now know for yourself about saving and losing.

What shifts?  What doesn’t?

– Beth Harrison


Between the Lines: Transfiguration: March 6, 2011

Text: Matthew 17:1-9

James Carse and Mary Gordon as quoted in the Parallel Readings (see below) have very different opinions of who Jesus was and is. It has been said that if you tell me your estimate or theology of Jesus – such as his divinity – I will know everything else about you. This may be true since your portrait of Jesus reveals what you think and believe not only about the man from Nazareth but, by implication, about God, the world and even yourself. Continue reading

BibleWorkbench: Pentecost 23, October 31, 2010

Text: Luke 19:1-10

Jungian analyst and teacher Marie Louise Von Franz writes that climbing up a tree and down again is symbolic of psychological rebirth.  The cross – the tree upon which Christ was crucified – suggests that the tree is also a symbol of spiritual rebirth.  To climb a tree is to climb toward heaven.  To sit in a tree is to retreat from reality, to move physically onto another plane within the material world, to gain a bird’s eye view of things – a new perspective.  Perhaps Zacchaeus (who was short in stature), in climbing the sycamore, perceived the world in a new way.  Perhaps he saw not only Jesus, but saw from Jesus’ viewpoint the possibility of the Kingdom of God.  And perhaps, if he had a vision of this wholeness, he was able to imagine his role in bringing it about – more than imagine even, to offer himself fully to the cause. Continue reading

Bible Workbench: Lent 4: March 22, 2009

From a reader:

Numbers 21:4-9
Moses in the Wilderness

“Using whatever materials are at hand— art supplies, stuff in the kitchen drawer, odds and ends on your desk— create a bronze serpent pole on your kitchen table or beside your bed or on the bookshelf, or atop the bathroom cabinet. Keep it in sight these days and wonder how what it symbolizes might be a source of healing and life to you.” (BWB 16:3, p. 56)

A "bronze serpent"

The people are focused on everything that is wrong and want someone to blame. Naturally, Moses and God become the targets. Then as some are bitten by snakes and die, they panic.

Moses, of course, is the middle man and catches it from both sides. However, God is lenient and gives him the task of making a bronze serpent to mount on a stick. This is no easy task as bronze is the product of a commercial environment, and, if memory serves me, these Israelites left Egypt with only the clothes on their backs and are now in the wilderness. But not to be deterred Moses presses on. What happens? He thinks about something other than these complaining, bickering Israelites. He becomes creative, works out his more immediate problem, and somehow comes up with a bronze serpent on a stick. This project took him away from the huge problem of moving this group to the promised land to a short term goal which he could accomplish in a reasonable time. Better mental health for Moses.

Second, snake bite victims are assured that if they look at the serpent on a stick they will not die. Again the shift of attention is a healthy move for them as well as if, in effect, they said, “Down, down, down, Blood Pressure; chill, Adrenaline. Antibodies, do your stuff.” Obviously, changing the way they reacted to snake bite had a positive effect.

Ruth Zepeda, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Shreveport, LA