Why do we humans so love to fake goodness? Year after year Lent brings another shout-out to the soul. Year after year we find ourselves dragged forward against the grain of our pretensions of religiosity, through the vulnerability of hearts tender with shames and fears, so that God may find us and make of us transmitters of a light other than our own.
Jesus, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and still wet from his baptism, comes back to his home synagogue, publicly claims that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy, and is praised by everyone. Then, within five verses, everyone in the synagogue is filled with rage. They drive him out of town so that they might hurl him off a cliff.
Our firstborn son came into the world seven years ago with red hair, blue eyes and keen perception. We discovered this early on.
We’d be out for a walk and Jonah would start pointing and saying, “Woof, woof, woof!” (i.e., “Mama, Dada, over there, a doggie!”). We wouldn’t see a dog anywhere, but he never lost his resolve. “Woof, woof, woof!” And sure enough, six, maybe seven blocks up, off in the distance we would see it: a big black poodle, or a cream-colored golden retriever. He was right every time. We were the ones without eyes to see.
When Stacy Johnson Myers of First Congregational Church in River Falls, Wisconsin, asked illustrator Amy Sands to create 36 images of Bible scenes for the congregation’s faith formation, the results were vivid and engaging. Now Myers has collaborated with Kathryn Brewer to create three books of these colorful images. “There are different kinds of darkness . . .” begins Light in the Darkness, which tells biblical stories from creation through Pentecost with a focus on God’s covenantal relationship with the world. Many congregations across the country are now purchasing copies of the books and prints of the artwork from the congregation’s website (firstchurchrf.org, October 4).