A Gentle Stirring of Life and Hope

I’m haunted by this image. Before you read more about it, take the time to explore the entire image with your eyes:

  • Notice the shapes, the different figures and symbols….
  • See if there is any part of the image that asks for your attention.
  • Notice if it evokes any feelings, thoughts, or memories….

It is part of a series of woodcuts created by the innovative artist Albrecht Duerer. Living in Nuremberg in the early 1500’s he is thought to be the “greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance.” (Wiki article)

I was drawn to the cross symbol over Mary’s head.
The shadow of the cross does fall, even in the cattle stall.
That’s not what haunts me,
though I can appreciate the tension of death even in the midst of life.

It’s the birth in the midst of the ruins.
Look at the building.
Notice the hole in the roof.
See the bricks exposed in tumbled walls.

This awakens something in me.
It calls to the incompleteness of my own journey.
It calls to the longing for wholeness.

Oh, that I could always hold
that hope does come and settle in alongside despair,
that peace is birthed in the midst of challenge,
that joy is found in brokenness and uncertainty,
that all is ruined can be transformed in love.

There is no either-or in the journey of transformation.
There is only truth-telling with its naming of realities
and the new birthings arising from deep desire.

How is the Divine speaking to your life, or the life of your community of faith, through this image?

What are the ways you nurture truth-telling in your life?

In what ways might you nurture stirrings of new life within as your Advent work?

[Reprinted from a 2013 Advent Email Retreat.] 

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