Rachel Continuing with Women of the Bible pieces, this was inspired by the story of Rachel and Leah in Genesis 29.
Jacob worked for 7 years for Laban, with the promise of marrying Rachel after that time. When the time came around for him to marry Rachel, Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, using the excuse that a younger child could not be married before the first born. As Jacob loved Rachel, he agreed to work another 7 years and was rewarded with marriage to Rachel.
My piece is imagining Rachel, ready to be married to Jacob. She is dressed in her wedding veil and her face at first glance looks full of beauty and contentment.
But look longer at her expression and it seems not quite so content. She has just found out that she is not yet to be married to Jacob; she must wait and watch her older sister marry first. Does she know her father's plan, or does she expect Jacob to marry only one woman? We can't know how the detail played out, and can only imagine how Rachel must have felt. TFL! Bernie x
During a time of famine, Naomi's husband decided they should emigrate to another land, and so went from Judah to the highlands of Moab. Leaving her homeland must have been such a sacrifice for Naomi as Moab was so heathen in its ways.
Nothing but misfortune found Naomi and her family when they had moved. Her sons both married women of Moab, rather than Hebrew women, rather than support their mother. Then her husband died, leaving her a widow in a land of idolaters. Naomi loses all heart to live on in a foreign land. Her heart was broken, her spirit was broken, and she felt God had abandoned her. She realised she must return to her native land of Bethlehem. TFL! Bernie x
Sapphira This piece is based on a 'story' from Acts about Ananias and his wife, Sapphira.
Ananias and Sapphira sold their property in order to contribute to the Apostles' fund for the poor. But rather than hand over every penny, they kept some back for themselves, saying though, that they were giving all the proceeds. Peter is aware of what they have done, exposes them, and both are struck down, dead.
At first, the initial reaction might be 'how could you?' and 'why?' Then I read a commentary about this that softened the initial perception of their actions. They so much wanted to be part of that early group of faithful, but they just couldn't bring themselves to give up every last penny of the proceeds from the property sale. They wanted a safety net for themselves.
I think many of us could sympathise with this kind of outlook!
So, my piece is of Sapphira. She holds a bottle of perfume, to represent that which she could not give up. She is in darkness, as she knows in her heart that what she and her husband are doing is wrong. She perhaps looks confident at first glance - nobody will know, all will be well. Yet looking closely at her face, she betrays just a shadow of that doubt within. TFL! Bernie x
Anna This morning I carried on reading the Book of Tobit - I'd stopped about 2/3 of the way through as I'd been so inspired to create some art lol! I also read more of the other two books I've been reading all week. Again, although on completely different subjects and having no connection to each other, the places I was at in my reading both covered the same theme - waiting.
The times when we can't control what's happening, eg waiting for test results about an illness, waiting to hear from others we care about. At times like these we can do nothing but wait. It can feel like an emptiness. But this waiting can still be a service; a time of prayer, doing what we're supposed to be doing at that time.
In the Book of Tobit, Anna is Tobit's wife and the mother of Tobias. Her son leaves for a far off place and she is distraught. The Book describes how every day she went to the road Tobias had taken out of town and waited for him to return. As he was delayed in returning, due to getting married, she must have become more and more fraught with worry. But all she could do was wait. Just imagine the joy, though, when her son finally returned!
So this piece is how I imagine Anna. Sitting at the roadside all day long, every day, simply waiting to once more see her son. She worries and can't look after herself - she weeps and doesn't sleep all night - but she waits. TFL!
I tried something different today! Having prayed for inspiration, I opened my Bible at a random page. It fell to the Book of Tobit - not a Book I was overly familiar with! The 'story' within the Book is quite compelling!
Sarah, the woman in my piece, marries Tobit's son, Tobias. Sarah has been married 7 times before but was possessed by a demon, which killed each man who tried to get near her on their wedding nights.
When Sarah was told she was to marry Tobias, she must have been so fearful in case the same happened again - the events had had public as well as private implications for the family.
My piece is my imagining how Sarah must have felt through those times of grief, shame and sadness; she must have felt demorialised and perhaps resentful, wondering how and where this would all end. Yet there is a small glimmer of anxious hope when she sees Tobias arrive... TFL! Bernie x
With this piece came the firm conviction of my Faith Art path moving forwards. It will mean revamping my Artboja site and stepping up and showing my light well and truly to the world! I'm ready!
Title: No Longer Loved?
This was inspired somewhat subconsciously by readings I am ploughing through at present! One is by Jane Williams, Approaching Easter, the other, by Brother Ramon and Simon Barrington-Ward, Praying the Jesus Prayer Together. I hadn't even realised when I read the individual chapters in each stage of each book, but they were actually saying the same things!
Often, our view of love is all about feelings and sentiment, and when we feel we are no longer loved, we look for things to make us feel that emotional need. We want that feeling of excitement.
But the love God has for us is more than that. John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."
God's love for us is this wish to see us completely fulfilled, walking with him and with others, and so drawing in others to this family of believers. A family of people who know they are so special to God.
When we feel so loved, we can help others realise they too are so loved. As we come to know that love, we long to become what we truly are and to take that into the world, to others. Taking God's light into the darkness.
In my piece, the woman feels she is no longer loved. Reminiscent of Jesus and his crown of thorns, placed upon him by others, she wears a 'veil' of hard, scratchy twigs and leaves that seem to signify her unworthiness, as placed upon her by others and felt deeply.
Yet dotted within those twigs are little white flowers - little beacons of light. Perhaps all is not lost after all?
Although there seems so much darkness around her, a darkness that contains hard, painful thoughts, feelings and emotions, a darkness that surrounds and envelops her, touching her very body, there is also light. That light also touches her, heals, and gives hope for the future. She realises that although she may suffer now, this will pass and she will be made whole again by His love. TFL! Bernie x