Yesterday I was involved in a retreat day and our theme was
'Set free'. We used various images to illustrate the theme and of
course we were particularly blessed by the participants sharing their
unique perspectives on what was presented.
One exercise was choosing from a series of photographs depicting hardship and
challenge and the task was to simply describe what feelings and thoughts the photographs evoked. Some of the photographs chosen depicted drought and cracked earth and a distant figure in the background, an imminent storm and a boat out to sea, a person trapped in a deep cavern, a huge flight of concrete steps leading to an unknown destination and the image of a cross reflected from a window on a stone altar. There was a lot of energy in the room as people shared with each other. Images like these can be very powerful and can speak to our experience.
I chose a beautiful autumn scene of a man walking away from the viewer along a path in the woods upon a carpet of red and golden leaves. All that was showing of the man was his lower legs wearing tramping pants and boots. He seemed to be hobbling. He was moving forward and it seemed to me the fallen leaves on the ground were like the wisdom and experience of all those who had gone before him cushioning his steps, the tall trees that lined the paths and the smaller green sapplings were like a guard of honour witnessing his journey and encouraging him to keep going as he moved forward.
Jesus in the Gospel today from Mark 4: 26-34 tells several parables about what the 'kingdom of God' is like, the germination of a seed and how it develops silently and mysteriously, the mustard seed growing into the biggest shrub so the birds of the air can shelter in its shade. I can see parallels between photographs and parables. They evoke a reaction in us and are often open ended. And we can share from unique perspectives.
There are aspects of our lives that can hold us back, tie us in knots, prevent us from moving forward if we give into them. Christ is on our side. He wants us to be free and by his life, death and resurrection has set us free. He invites us to contribute to the coming of the kingdom, to recognise signs of the kingdom and to keep walking towards the fullness of the kingdom.
Trusting in him, his teachings, his healings, miracles and parables will enable our faith and confidence to grow.
Listen to 'We Walk in Confidence' from Truly Blessed