He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free.
His blood can make the foulest clean
His blood availed for me.
That sounds like a contradiction,
where both things cannot be true.
“The power of cancelled sin?!”
How does sin that is cancelled have power!
And yet it does.
The sin done to me,
And the sin I have done as I create vows,
Shows up with a power that can feel overwhelming.
My story is interwoven with the theme of hidden sin.
Sin dressed up, covered over, silenced.
Bill Thrall used to say, “hiddenness creates a space for sin to grow”
It is true indeed.
And Lent is a space to remember,
To stare it in the face,
A space to name what has occurred.
A space to grieve.
Today I am thinking about art.
One of my affirmations begins, “I am an artist…”
So much work represented in four words.
It is a declaration, a shout of triumph against the evil one.
Evil likes to silence:
To silence the voice,
To silence the truth,
To silence art.
Because art shows my soul,
Lays it bare for another human.
And perhaps it is the soul that is silenced
When shame kills art.
What are your voices around art?
What messages ring in your head?
Whose voice speaks them?
What triggers their chant?
Mine are in my mother’s voice,
“You are the worst art student I ever taught…”
And other phrases, spoken long ago,
They echo with the power of yesterday.
I watched a circle of women create today.
As quickly as we began, shame walked in.
Uninvited, she threw her blanket over some of my sisters.
Eyes downcast, self-contempt spews, comparison abounds.
And evil laughs.
How long? How long?
How long is joy killed by voices of shame?
It is the cry of Lent. The long road lies ahead.
today I am thinking about the idea of holding space.
i am holding space today remembering a baby no longer here.
i hold space for birth, recognizing that is my most important role. The mama does the work, and the baby decides when to come. Together, they weave a dance of hard work and surrender. Today I am waiting for a baby to come.
i hold space for story. Space for my story, to come to the surface as Jesus chooses. Space for the courage to let it be what it is, in all its contradiction. Space for other women’s stories. They emerge gently, woven with words and fabric and paper, embodied in collage and silk and story ropes.
i have heard some react against this phrase, but for me it is a reminder. A reminder that I am not in charge. A reminder that there is only One who has that power.
My job, then, is simply to be present and to hold space.