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Painting: Mothering Spirit, Tend our Heart



Painted for the Vineyard Canada Prayer Summit, May 2021


As I was praying about this season of life for our Vineyard churches and our world, I was repeatedly brought back to Genesis 1:2, in particular how the Jesus Storybook Bible words it. It reads: “Like a mommy bird flutters her wings over her eggs to help her babies hatch, God hovered over the deep, silent darkness” (Gen. 1-2).


A mother bird, the Spirit of God - hovering over the darkness. 


In the NIV it says that in this darkness the earth was “formless and empty.” The Hebrew meaning for those words speak of an absence of purpose or worth, a desert wilderness, a sense of futility. 


Yet in the middle of this chaos, the wind - breath - mother bird - Spirit of God hovers. 

Hovering requires movement; it is not passive. It speaks of careful, intentional activity.


For us today, in the midst of our own season of wilderness, our own sense of futility in the chaos, this picture of the intentional, active, presence of the wind - breath - Spirit of God who is with us in our darkness, is a message of hope. 


The Spirit’s wings and body are full of various Scriptures, and hymns. The Creator, Word and Spirit, weaving together a message of comfort and promise. Tenderly mothering us. Nurturing, comforting and tending to our communal heart. Whispering promises of a new season.


In this painting what is being birthed in our communal heart is some prairie crocus flowers. These flowers are one of the first spring blooms after the long harsh barren season of winter. Sometimes they show up even while snow is still on the ground. I painted these flowers as a symbol of hope. 


After more research I discovered that the botanical name for these flowers is anemone patens or pulsatilla patens, which come from the root Greek and Latin words: anemone -wind; patens - lying open; pulsatilla - to pulsate or throb like a heart beat. 


Though I chose to paint crocuses as a symbol of promise, they also seem to represent an invitation towards our heart posture. 


In the root name of the crocus we are invited to lay ourselves open. To perceive and receive the wind - Spirit - presence of God who is with us in the darkness of the season. To allow God’s heartbeat to pulse and beat in and through us. Filling us with new unified life, and new unified hope.


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