Today is the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. I knew I was in for a treat when I walked into Mass (late, Lord, have mercy!) and Fr. Gary was sprinkling everyone with holy water. Before the Eucharist we all renewed our baptismal vows, and were sprinkled with the holy water and washed clean again. I mean, you totally got a lot of chances to get it right today! Lovely. So nice to be freshened up!
Fr. Gary's homily was about Jesus' humility in submitting to baptism even though He was sinless. It made me reflect on my own life. I think it takes a certain degree of humility to do anything beautiful for God. We have to submit not only to a washing away of our sins, but also the death of our ego and desire to do things mywaymywaymyway! After His baptism Jesus began His public ministry, and once again, I pondered my own ministry. What do you want me to do, Jesus?
I ask myself this question so often. Right now some of the big picture is clear. I know I want to relieve the suffering of the poor Christ as I find Him in others. I want to open an artful house of hospitality. I know I was given a gift of words and I should write. These are my big desires. In a way, they feel like the common sense things I'm supposed to do considering the gifts and loves I've been possess. I want to use these hungers and abilities for God's glory, but the question, what do you want me to do, Lord? keeps churning in my soul, parts still unanswered, as if there are possibilities I've never dreamed of and today they are out of reach. I want to be open. Even what I believe I'm supposed to do deep down in my soul can be--should be!-- humbled, and washed clean. I want to keep saying an unmistakable YES, even when confronted with mystery.
The feast of the Baptism of Our Lord is the end of the Church year for Catholics. We've waited through Advent, celebrated the Christ Child by offering Him our gifts for Epiphany, and now, we take our gifts and submit them to Him and His Spirit. We've died with Christ in baptism, and we rise again, our Father pleased with us. Amen!
Tomorrow is the beginning of ordinary time. I wanted to end this church year meditatively, affirming my heart's desire and highest hopes for the days to come. I made a 5x7 collage. I got ambitious y'all, and tried to fashion it as an icon, a whimsical icon, I admit.
Yikes, it's hard to do an icon when you really can't draw! It took me hours to make this! But I tried (I got a little help from tracing an icon by Fr. William McNichols). So, the icon is on tracing paper with watercolor pencils, paint markers, and gel pens. The nimbus is made of patterned scrapbooking paper. I used a big ol' purple circle that was part of the paper's design. Around the nimbus I wrote the words that represent what I believe I should do: writing, art, loving, healing, giving, creating. Just behind me is page of a hymnal with the lyrics to, "God Will Take Care of You." I believe this journey must be taken with faith in God's provision. Next I wrote the words in a paint marker, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." I added hearts that remind me of tear drops with a paint marker, and to the side of that a stamp of a rose. This is to represent awareness of the passion (suffering) involved in sharing in the life of Christ. It also represents the budding of my truest true self. I also added another blossom at the bottom, and a colorful bird that appears to have risen from my hands. This, of course, is the precious Holy Spirit. I used a colorful bird instead of a white one because color is bursting in my soul. The painting has my favorite colors, in thick messy strokes. I don't mind being a little messy. That too, takes bravery.
Art teaches me so much, about the creative process, about courage, and about letting go of outcomes I cannot control. It teaches me to love the newbie inside who is making art like a child, without skill, but with great joy and attention. It gives me hope.
What about you? Have you thought about your own public ministry? In the words of Mary Oliver I ask you, "Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
P.S. Next...My weight loss art journal. Sounds like fun, eh?<--sarcasm goes here.