(Art by Derek Turner)
By: Bethany Apelquist
Reflection—v. 2 ‘why do you labor for that which does not satisfy?’
Working hard is a funny thing; sometimes when we work hard, the results of our labor feel important and significant. But other times our hard work can feel monotonous and barely worth the effort. I think that we can all agree there are some tasks that we just have to get through. No matter our circumstances, we have to find ways to survive—and often that kind of work doesn’t feel deeply satisfying. In the NRSV translation, the title of this chapter in Isaiah is ‘An Invitation to an Abundant Life.’ I love that. I love the idea that even in this season of Lent, a season often marked by the hard work of preparing our hearts for Holy Week, Isaiah invites us to a life of abundance. He encourages the people to do work that satisfies their souls. Work that they can look at after their labors and think, ‘Wow! That was holy and sacred work!’ For me, art is that kind of work. If you ever visit Mercy you will see art hanging everywhere. From prayer flags to paintings to drawings, our space is filled with the artwork of our community. When we make art together, we take a step away from the work of survival and accept the invitation to abundant life. Making art can be challenging: to get just the right angle, find the right colors, make a vision come to life. But there is something immensely satisfying about looking at art you created with your own hands. I think it’s because when we make art, we live into who God has created us to be: people who do the work of creating beauty.
Prayer: May the work that we do be that of creation and beauty.