Isaiah 1: 1, 10-20

You may recall that, a few weeks ago, we explored the reading from the prophet Amos in which the prophet receives a vision of a basket of summer fruit.  And you may also recall that this image of apparent abundance was, in fact, an image of corruption and inner decay: it symcaravaggio1bolised the canker that lay at the heart of the People who were called to be a light to the nations, but who instead embodied injustice and oppression.  And you may further recall that in order to explore this image more deeply, I drew on the work of the Renaissance artist Caravaggio; and in particular two images: The Sick Young Bacchus, painted early in Caravaggio’s career; and David With The Head Of Goliath, painted toward the end of Caravaggio’s life.  Both works were self-portraits, an exploration by Caravaggio of his own brokenness and limitation as a human being; they were embodiments of the life of someone who, despite outward appearances of talent and success and capacity, was, at the heart of their humanity, deeply flawed. Continue reading “Isaiah 1: 1, 10-20”

Genesis 18: 20-32; Luke 11: 1-13; Colossians 2: 6-15; Psalm 13

In his book An Unsettling God, the biblical scholar and theologian Walter Brueggemann argues that the witness of the Hebrew Scriptures describes the relationship between God and humanity as one of “dialogical partnership”.[1]  That is to say, that what we learn from the Hebrew Scriptures is that God and humanity are engaged in a constant, two-way, and mutual conversation, in which God speaks to humanity and humanity responds. And the way this dialogue occurs, its character and nature, takes various forms and is described in various ways in the different texts that make up the Hebrew Scriptures. The upshot, however, is that God and humanity are in constant communication.  God speaks; we respond; and God speaks again. Continue reading “Genesis 18: 20-32; Luke 11: 1-13; Colossians 2: 6-15; Psalm 13”

Amos 8: 1-12

About ten years ago, the English historian and critic Simon Schama produced a documentary series entitled The Power of Art.  In this series, Schama explored the lives of significant artists, and examined, not just their life and productions, but also the impact upon history which each artist had through the meaning and significance of their work.  This series was an exploration of art in detail, and of the symbolism and self-revelation contained in the works produced by some of the greatest artists in Western civilisation. Continue reading “Amos 8: 1-12”