Friday, December 13, 2013

Elijah - 1 Kings 19:11b - 13

The Mandorla Art Prize: I have not stopped pondering about Elijah and his encounter with God. I had better start putting some of my ideas into practice soon. Ideas are always easier than putting brush to canvas!

As I lay my ideas out, I am deciding which one. stands out as something I want to work with, and even more importantly have the skills to work with.
As it is an Art Prize I'm not going to broadcast all over the internet what my plans are, only that they range from either a modern scene set in today's era or an ancient abstract theme or one that combines the two. My materials may include collages papers, words and symbols and/or a limited two tone palette. Newspaper keeps coming to mind and the history of communication over the ages, and especially from man to God.
 I've also been thinking  about what man has in common, no matter what religion, when he comes into the presence of 'other.' Especially in times of desperation. Do we cry out, look up, look down and/or close our eyes? We take the attention off of ourselves and focus on something greater than ourselves and outside of ourselves.

Elijah came out of the cave (out of himself) and covered his face (closing his eyes) and had a connection, a communication, a conversation with God. I often think that our relationship with God is less dramatic but certainly gives our life deeper meaning. But, there are many people I know who seem quite happy not to be in this relationship to God. They are quite at peace within themselves and claim to live completely separate from this faith relationship. I used to think this was quite an arrogant approach to the gift of life but these days I think it is quite gutsy! It takes courage to admit you don't believe and to claim that this life is all you have and all there is! You love, you hate, you laugh, you cry, you live, you work and you die. Life goes on no matter what. Even though they are surrounded by religion and spirituality that says otherwise, especially when loved ones die, they have the guts to say...I live and love but I don't believe there is more!

So, once again, how does this relate to the Elijah scripture? How does this story speak to those friends of mine? In a way it is a very 'in-house' story, all about the God of the Hebrews and the amazing relationship he has with his prophets and his people Israel. That can seem very distant from our reality today and I'm still wanting to pull it into the here and NOW. Elijah was running away from his life work and suicidal. How many of us have been there or know someone who has been there? Even I have been there myself.
After his encounter with God he was completely transformed and went back to work. Can that happen for us too? Can God come to us before we even call and transform our lives? Is that always the case? We know it doesn't always work out that way, but for those who believe, we cant help but stand back in awe as we contemplate yet another miraculous story of the Old Testament and we hear God asking us the same question He asks Elijah...Why are you here?

Perhaps I should stop thinking so much and start creating. I'm sure the same God that Elijah encountered will guide me....

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