Monday, March 17, 2014

Art Journey through Lent {do you want to be healed?}

"Your healing is not a straight line."
~Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

Healing.  Water.  Sabbath.  Testimony.  Witness.

These words are found again and again in John 5, and as I read the chapter this weekend, I marked each and every one.  I looked up the phrase, "to bear witness."

{bear witness: to vouch for, testify, give evidence for}

Jesus spoke to the leaders and the Pharisees in harsh terms.  John the Baptist bore witness of him, the Father bore witness, all of Jesus' works themselves bore witness.  Yet they did not see.  If I was there, with my desire for structure and right, I very possibly would not have seen either.  My eyes may have been closed to the miracle, the mystery in flesh, the very Word.

"Do you want to be healed?" ~John 5:6

I don't think this was a rhetorical question.  Jesus was demanding an answer.  And he demands one of me.  Am I content to sit back in my complacency?  Or do I truly desire to be healed in a way that will still leave me with wounds.  Because, truly, wounds are what bring wholeness.  Wounds are what connect us.  So this healing is not, perhaps, what we think it should be.

I began my blank page by writing in all of the words that I had marked in the chapter.  I actually had printed out the passage and marked it in color, underlining and boxing around words that spoke in a way similar to the technique Beth Morey taught in last year's Made ecourse.  I glued the John 5 passage over the written text and then began painting.

On the right page I spread a thick layer of gesso with a palette knife and scraped in a spiral to symbolize the stirring of the pool in Jerusalem.  Before it dried, I dripped blue ink from the top of the page and let it run; I also sprayed blue ink across the scripture on the left page.

I applied random swatches of white, blue and green paint, only partially obscuring the text.  This process in itself was very healing.  I've noticed that every chapter thus far in John has included water, and I have followed this symbol throughout.  Maybe it is just my perception based on my attraction to the symbolism of water, maybe not.  It is where my pages seem to go.  

I began cutting out hands from magazines.  Old hands, young hands, a range of skin colors.  Unity.  Beauty.  Touch.  Hands have so much to say, don't they?

I want my life to bear witness.  Of the grace of God, His glory through love.

And yes.  I want to be healed.


John 5 is so rich.  Print out the chapter, enlarging it if needed, and live with it, breathe with it, for a while before creating.  Ponder the way Jesus healed on the Sabbath, breaking the long-standing rule of the Jews, and how he broke down walls with every touch of his hand and every word from his mouth.  What does healing look like for you?  Use the printed scripture as an element in your journal page- as strips, mosaic squares, sketch on it, whatever comes to mind.  Choose colors that personally symbolize healing.  Add words and images that support your prayers and ponderings.

Jesus, I want to be healed on a deeper level than the world can offer.  Show me how to break down walls in order to share love, and touch those around me with the light of your grace.  Let my life be a witness to your mystery and glory.  Amen.

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To find this series in its entirety, click the image on the sidebar.}


  1. Very well written. I really loved it. The way you expressed your thoughts with the paintings is amazing. And I agree with you hands have so much to say. Indeed, healing journey is not a straight line. Its many ups and downs but one has to trust the God and His mercy.