an image of hope
At the NBS national gathering last weekend, our epic telling was the book of Amos. (An epic is when you take a larger chunk of the biblical narrative, or a whole book if it's a relatively short book, and break it into portions that people learn and tell in the order of the book. it's a great way to hear the story as a whole). Amos is a story of God's anger, a response to the pain God feels at the broken covenant between God and the people of Israel. The people of God forget the covenant, ignore it, turn their backs on it, and God, being bound by the covenant, has to punish the people. So much of the book of Amos, as in many of the books of the prophets, contains quite angry, violent imagery.
There is a message of hope, however, at the end of the book. And Jeanette Acland told this portion of the story in our epic. She had worked towel and sheet to represent an infant, and sat cradling the 'infant' in her arms as she spoke the words of God.
I will restore fortunes of my people Israel,
and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine;
and they hall make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant them upon their land,
and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land that I have given them,
says the Lord your God.
At our closing ritual we were invited to speak a word or phrase, or share a visual art response to the weekend. The image of God as mother cradling her child Israel will stay with me for a long time. I am a words artist, so Jeanette offered to draw the picture for me. The creation images around it are from Robyn, who draws throughout our gathering. Creation was a theme of some of our reflections over the weekend.