A few Sundays ago, I decided to draw a cross in church. Then, because the flowers on the altar called to me, I decided to draw those too.
While I drew, the priest spoke about how Christianity was different from other religions. It had its own unique identity, and those who advocate syncretism, or believe that all religions as essentially the same, rob Christianity (or any religion) of its uniqueness.
On Mother's Day, I attended my mother's church. Her pastor shared with us his love of Church History, and studying the ancient Christian fathers, such as St. Anselm and Martin Luther. The thing I came away from the service with was his assertion that, while God is often regarded as a Father, many of the Church fathers portrayed him as a Mother. He also spoke about the special role a mother plays in a traditional marriage, and how society's attempts to modernize the household, as well as the role of women, have robbed women and mother's of dignity and fulfillment.
Oh, and at one point, he also mentioned that he had watched "Dragonheart 3," and that the dragon in the movie wasn't very nice. So we should be more like mothers, not dragons, apparently. I can't judge, as I haven't seen the movie, but this seems strange to me. I remember liking the dragons in the first two movies, and thinking they were good role models. In any case, while I enjoyed most of his sermon, on this issue I disagree. There are good mothers, and good dragons, and yes, even good dragon-mothers. So there.
Anyway, I added to the picture while he spoke, as you can see below.
The next Sunday I added to the ground, filling it in with grass and other plants, and deepening the colors. As I drew, the priest shared with us how he had taken an icon with him during a sabbatical in Ireland. During his months there, he would look at the picture in his room, and this kept him centered. He suggested that we all need things that keep us centered, that remind us of who we are, and who we yearn to be. What those may be for any particular person will be as different and unique as we all are.
I also worked on the picture while waiting for my wife during two doctor visits. Time in the reception room flew by as I drew. And then, suddenly, it was finished.
At my mother's church, a friend's brother remarked after the service, "That sure must be an important picture you're working on." I'm not sure how important this particular picture is, either to me, or in the scheme of things. I did enjoy drawing it. Hopefully, the picture has its own unique importance and dignity, and conveys something that helps keep me centered. But I suspect that its real importance in my life was the actual drawing of it, not the final result.