A Prayer for Synodality


 

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A Prayer for Renewed Encounter, 2022. 36 in x 36 in, Advent candle wax, colored pencil, watercolor, on paper and bulletins from a Taizé prayer service, mounted on panel. 

 

This work is a prayer for us to experience this time as Kairos, as the opportune moment to be transformed by encounter with God. I begin each square by drawing a quatrefoil with an Advent candle, a gesture that prepares our hearts to listen. Then lightly with a waxy colored pencil, I write the question I have been pondering in my heart again and again: 

how do we make

room for movement

of spirit, the love

that flows between us

I incorporate reflections that surface from listening and participating in synod conversations:

"turn of an epoch,"

"sharing from our hearts,"

"starting with relationships,"

"synodality as a lifelong commitment."

I sit with these prayerful musings as watercolors pool into one another and dry into unexpected shapes. Shapes untouched by paint that let this strong yet delicate paper breathe call my attention; with a ballpoint pen, I carve out these unnameable organic in-between spaces where the Spirit works.  I repeat this drawing process with three more squares, and then I arrange the three pieces to make a whole, focusing on the edges that will touch. I listen to the surface of these margins with the tip of my ballpoint pen, filling the space with a pulsing, watery blue. When the edges are joined, they become a river that invites active currents to meet, a cross that unifies rather than divides, an intersection that allows holy, shared insights to congregate.  I mount these paintings on top of bulletins from a Taizé prayer service, grounding myself in the repetitive chants of this ecumenical community that inspires me with its mission of reconciliation. I continue to create paintings in this series of Prayers for Synodality–for active, intentional, collective discernment in our spiritual communities. As the patterns repeat and the cycles evolve, I trust–and hope you will, too–the slow reverberating flow between us and in us and around us, the quiet and all encompassing love of God calling us to renewal.