Behold I am doing a new thing

Isaiah 43:19

The bible verse that caught my attention this morning was from Isaiah chapter 43, verses 18-21. I have highlighted the words that spoke to me:

Isaiah 43:18-21 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

I love the imagery of streams of water – living water, as Jesus would later come to offer – flowing, bringing life to God’s people. We often go through desert periods in life when we feel dry and dusty, in need of refreshment. Although I have not been feeling like that recently I still seek to experience more of God’s new life flowing in and through me, especially in the parishes where I serve.

I went to an art and spirituality group this afternoon. It was a long journey (over an hour of driving each way) and I did wonder if I should go, or if it wold be a better use of time to stay at home. I decided that if God is doing something new in and through me, and if my desire to bring together art and spirituality is of God, then perhaps I should go. I am glad I did.

They were a friendly group of people who have encouraged me to continue on this road. At first I didn’t know what to paint, but remembering the words from this morning’s prayer time I decided to do a picture of a desert and streams of water coming from a rock. It didn’t work out mainly because I was using water colours and lacked the skill to produce what I imagined. So that was put on one side. Instead, being encouraged by the leader, I simply played with the paint and dabbed and daubed with 3 bright acrylic paints: red, yellow and blue. The result elicited positive comments, one of which was that it was like a stained glass window. As each layer, or step, dried I worked on another piece with the words: Behold I am doing a new thing.

Reflecting on the afternoon I realise that I need to continue building up skill so that I can express myself in paint and lettering. God is doing a new thing but can only go as fast as I have time and energy to put in the necessary practice. On the way home I pulled over to listen to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with one of the parts being played by Bernstein. It was a brilliant performance. The presenter told us that Gershwin spent many years writing various different types of music before he got to the point of writing that. When I was chatting with the artist leading us this afternoon she said that she did her training many years ago – and another member of the group had also gone to art college. I have not had that grounding so I need to be more patient with myself and allow myself to play, to make mistakes, to discover what works and what doesn’t. I feel that this period of my life is one of preparation for what lies ahead – as well as being busy in parish ministry, which of course has to have a higher priority than the art.

It isn’t exactly a masterpiece, and there is no right way up, but for what it is worth, this is the picture that resulted from my playing with paint this afternoon:

Playing with 3 primary colours of paint

2 Comments

  1. It was a priviledge to have you join us today Liz! Ive truly enjoyed reading your blog & love your the piece that you have achieved through “playing”!

    I also love the passage you’ve drawn upon,”Look I’m doing a new thing”. I drew upon this same verse a few months ago in this group & it certainly hit a chord with those who were present.

    Thank you for coming & be part of this growing group. God is doing a new thing, just to be patient & to listen is what we are all trying to do.
    Love & blessings,
    Kanj

    Like

  2. ❤️. I love this verse and enjoyed reading your blog entry. It’s something I can identify with.

    Also it’s the verse that came to me when I woke up in the night. So I was surprised to see this blog entry.

    Thank you for sharing this and affirming that God makes all things new even when we least expect it.

    God bless you xx

    Like

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