Reading from the Gospels, Year A, Proper 21/Ordinary 26/Pentecost +15: Matthew 21.23-32
Hello, finally! The past few weeks have brought wonderful travels—my annual reunion with a group of girlfriends from seminary, plus a trip with Gary for a retreat that we lead each year for folks who are in the ordination process in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. As I continue my own unfolding path in ministry, it is always heartening to be with each of these groups: those whom I shared the seminary experience with (two decades ago now) and whose lives and ministries have taken intriguing twists and turns, along with those on the retreat who are en route to ordination and who are closer to their seminary days and newer to the vocation of ministry.
Though I’m back home for a bit, I’m finding this is a time for regrouping in the studio. This week, in which the gospel lection gives us the powerful image of a vineyard and the fruitfulness it offers, is a good time to remember that creation has its own rhythms. I’m in a fallow time in my artistic life. And while this can trigger frustration and anxiety (“Will I ever create again??”), I have also learned (and those closest to me are good at reminding me of this) that times like this usually precede a creative shift, which is cause for excitement. It’s a good time to hunker down, to keep showing up at the drafting table even when what’s emerging there seems awful (crap is great fertilizer, after all), and to return to the basics, including painting a big new batch of the papers from which I create the collages, which in itself will provide good inspiration. I have a fistful of yummy new paints and am eager to try some new directions in my color palette.
When fallow times come around, it’s good to remember that attending to seemingly small things—like buying new paints, clearing out and re-creating a workspace, refilling the creative well, and returning to the basic elements of the creative process—prepares the ground for new life and growth to take hold. As in a vineyard.
How about for you—what season is your soul in? Fallow or fruitful or somewhere in between? Is there some small step you could take that would make room for God to grow in a new way in your life?
For a previous reflection on this Sunday’s gospel, I invite you to visit Where God Grows. And whatever season you find yourself in, I wish you many blessings!