Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reflections on Ruth, Part II

Chrissie’s second artwork is an interpretation of Ruth 1:6, which describes Naomi’s decision to return to Judah upon hearing that God had reached out to her people to give them what the need. The verse reads in Hebrew:

ותקם היא וכלתיה ותשׁב משׂדי מואב כי שׁמעה בשׂדה מואב כי־פקד יהוה את־עמו לתת להם לחם׃

Chrissie writes, “I wanted to show how God’s presence moves from a heaviness to a lighter touch, how God breaks through the story in many different modes, how the various words bring forth different understandings of how God reaches each of us.” The Hubble image is Merging Clusters in 30 Doradus. Click the image below to enlarge it.

In the art I perceive a light, “wispy” quality to God’s “visit” (פקד)---you can see the night sky through the streaks---yet, there also seems to be something of a strike/impact as God’s presence funnels down between the mountains of Judah.

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The third piece in the series (immediately below) is an interpretation of Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth’s stirring proclamation of loyalty to her mother-in-law. The figures of Ruth and Naomi appear against a backdrop of Grand Design Spiral Galaxy M81. For me, the art captures how minute acts of selfless-loyalty may have cosmic magnitude in God’s grand design for human history.

Chrissie writes, “I see God’s hand holding Ruth while she outlines for the elder woman what she envisions for their future.” Then, I wonder if the image might represent God holding Ruth in addition to its more literal depiction of Ruth holding Naomi. Or, perhaps better, is this an image of God becoming tangibly present for each figure in the hands of the other woman to whom she is now forever bound?

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