Although abstract, Linda McCray's work is rich in symbolism: that of color (the blue-black of the void and the purple of Lent) and of material, with ash and sand from Jerusalem affecting both color and texture. McCray is a painter, designer, art consultant for sacred space, retreat facilitator and adjunct professor who lives in Clancy, Montana. She writes: "Our Lenten journeys are about mortality and transformation. It is a time of spiritual renewal and drawing closer to Jesus. . . . In a universal theological sense, this painting is about kenosis, the emptiness that precedes grace."
True Grit is the last thing you'd expect from the movies' most resolutely ironic brother act, the writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen: a labor of love. They set out to adapt Charles Portis's charming novel faithfully, correcting the errors of the 1969 Henry Hathaway version, a stock western memorable only for John Wayne's performance as the tippling marshal Rooster Cogburn.
I am told to be grateful as I wake each morning wrapped in the unfolding blanket of dawn, shake off the moon, dying stars, and taste the beige-gray breath of incipient day.
Grateful to whom or what? To the rain that coats the pavement with its timid sheen, the birds’ silence in the settling damp, the bodies of neighbors rising, reluctant, in boxes of houses that line the street with woe and weariness?
Let me drink strong coffee, toast my bread with dailiness, uncurl myself to a day lit only by a hidden sun. I might have been rich or famous, cured cancer, saved the world. For now, let me watch butter melt as a golden flower.
About 500 people—over twice the usual number—showed up at a Star Wars–themed service at the Zion Church in Berlin the weekend the new Star Wars movie was released. Some of the congregants carried lightsabers or wore Darth Vader masks. The church organist played the film’s theme song. The Protestant pastor said the aim was to show that Star Wars draws on religious imagery and “that the Bible and the church are part of our culture” (Toronto Star, December 20).