The Second Sunday in Lent
I enjoy looking at art - good or bad, I pay attention to the emotions that well inside me when I look at a painting, a sculpture. The week on my travels, the airports I passed through had art installations in the ceilings, some I found pleasing a soothing, others jarring, vaguely "oily" in my mind. Occasionally a piece would surprise me, a sudden recess in the ceiling revealing a giant hidden cloth flower, the black ribbons in the rafters that blossomed with moving color. When I select images to accompany my writings in this newsletter, I pick art, comic, picture, that somehow fits or anticipates either my writing or one of the readings for the week.
This week, the second Sunday of Lent, the readings speak of covenant, promises, and expectations. They put us at the crossroads where human, down-to-earth-management concerns cross swords with God's vision. We join Abram and Sarai and Peter and the Romans to whom Paul writes in the place where we have a choice: the choice is to trust God will provide, even as we laugh in disbelief.
I look at this painting: Abram is receiving a new name for himself and has a finger aiming in his wife's direction, Sarai looking on in stunned knowledge that her life is about to change again. Abram's gaze is unfocused, processing; Sarai's sharp and suspicious. There is tension in the painting. Does this couple follow God's decree and promise yet again, or do they manage the current community the same, safe way they have for 13 years, ignoring the new vision?