The texts for this week are challenging. The Gospel reading, an excerpt from Jesus’ high priestly prayer, is difficult to read aloud. It feels awkward to eavesdrop on Jesus’ intimate moments with God, and one can get lost in the anguish of a savior about to die.
They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. —Psalm 1, verse 3
A visual response to the words of the first Psalm, Charles Dupree's Blue Tree flourishes in its watery environment. Its deep roots and fine branches inspire confidence that the tree will have strength and flexibility sufficient to withstand storms. Dupree works in the medium of encaustic—a specially formulated wax mixed with pigment that creates unique textural effects. As is so often true of modern and postmodern works, the medium is much of the message. The artist says, "As priest and artist, I love the mysterious effects of wax. Wax is to the canvas what incense is to the worship space. Light, smoke and the wonder of God inform all of my work."
For some the words of scripture pierce the heart and enlighten the darkened mind. But for others scripture is opaque, archaic or so overwritten by prior interpretations—brilliant or deadening—that they cannot read it without a cacophony of contending viewpoints clamoring in the back of their minds.
Many of us Protestants have lost a sense of connection with the apostolate. When was the last time, as we were installing church leaders, that we asked the question, "Have you truly, genuinely experienced the resurrection of the Lord?"