As part of a congregation (sosj.org.au) I was recently asked to write a short reflection on how I see “Our Josephite Mission Today” and within that context to share my thoughts on 'how your particular ministry gives expression of the mission of God.'
I hope you enjoy my two cents worth,,,,
Desmond Tutu once said, “We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders.” This simple yet powerful notion illuminates the mission of God, and how I experience it in my current ministry (Pastoral Care and Digital Communication in a High School).
How do we tell the world there are no outsiders?
Listening is first, enabling relationship, dignity and dialogue - what I believe is at the core of Jesus’ message of radical inclusion. Relevant questions help this process. How would you like to be connected digitally? What would it mean for you? Actions follow, they are based upon how our community has requested to be connected. For example, forms of social media, types of images, videos, messages and their frequency.
“By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us.
We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact we live steeped in its burning layers.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin certainly understood there are no outsiders. Digital communication is a powerful force with burning layers. It is easy to be afraid of change, scared of something new and progressive. But holding sacred the mission of God I feel called to let go of fear (John 14:27).
In a changing world my ministry gifts me an opportunity to continually listen, using digital media to help relinquishing separation. A parent recently said to me, “Seeing photos of the girls on Instagram makes me feel so connected. I don’t feel separate, I feel part of the community.” Surely we are as our hearts truly know not separate but one.
Late last year I created a modern interpretation of Joseph and Jesus dancing. I have been really surprised how popular it has become. Now that it is school holidays I have been really fortunate to have a bit of hibernation time to create some new artwork. More and more i'm feeling drawn to re-imagine Gospel stories in a contemporary context.
After chatting with two women who were both pregnant about two weeks ago the story of the visitation seems to have stuck with me like a child to an ice-cream truck. This curiosity inspired me to create an interpretation of the visitation (LK 1:39-45). In the artwork I have shown Elizabeth and Mary embracing each other. Elizabeth very pregnant with John the Baptist and young Mary coming to terms with her pregnancy. The thing that strikes me the most about this story is the relationship and kinship between these two very real women. I wanted to show how they supported each other through their unimaginable circumstances. I believe that God is found in community and kinship; this leads us to joy, life and opens us to new experiences. And as we know with community and family there is most certainly always laughter and calamity involved!
The second sketch I created was an interpretation of the Magnificat.
After thinking about the visitation I was really inspired to create a visual interpretation and a more inclusive text version. I will say that I do love Bach's Magnificat; the original is sacred. But, for many the original fails to create connection and relationship, I know I certainly struggle to identify with some of the language. I really believe that Mary experienced joy (among other emotions in her relationship with our creator). And that her trust in God let her 'soul to burst with joy'. As St Irenaeus said: "The glory of God is a human being fully alive."
The Good Samaritan is one of my favourite parables and one that challenges me often. I was inspired to create this after a couple of people mentioned that it is one that speaks to them too. It is challenging to reach out and be with others, but I hope you can also see this parable in your life today with my interpretation.
I have used colours and symbols in both pieces to accentuate meanings behind the relationship. For example Mary has blue Jeans + yellow/gold top to symbolise glory revealed, joy, light & divinity. Purple is also a royalty & nobility colour for John the Baptist. If you look closely you'll spot 'Luke 1:39-45' on a clothing tag and you may find a Marian symbol too?
I hope these bring you life, perhaps inspiring you to re-imagine the Gospel and your relationship with our God today.
I also have a few other ideas in the works and hope to post more online soon....
My spirit bursts with joyful gratitude in our God who loves us all.
With my simplicity God shows us there is no hierarchy.
From now on, all generations will know God’s infinite love.
With awe we experience God’s almighty presence.
God’s eternal mercy wraps around all those who love.
God’s strength and tenderness shine through me, shattering all our fears.
God fills the hungry, the rich are shown a new path.
Our prayers throughout history are heard.
We now see all creation forever blessed with life.
My soul bursts, as we now dance with divine mystery...
Jane Maisey rsj