Waters of New Birth

Painting is “Waters of Baptism” by Tim Mooney

Tim audited a class I co-taught while living in Berkeley.  A good friend and I received a grant from the Practicing Our Faith people to teach a class on creativity as Christian spiritual practice (you can read a summary here) in the spring of 2003.  It was a great experience, and we got to meet wonderfully creative and spiritually grounded students like Tim (a Presbyterian pastor, artist, and spiritual director) and begin exploring some of our ideas around creativity as a vital practice for church communities and ministry.  I got an email today from Tim, telling me about a new website where he was a featured artist.  I delighted in looking at his work again and re-visiting his own website.

I was moved by several of his paintings.  Something about the one above in particular stirred me today in connection with the Advent theme of birthing I am hoping to explore.  The water in this painting is vast and wide, like the waters of the womb that envelop and protect new growth with care.  The sun is just at the horizon, perhaps the promise of a new day or sinking deep into the night, those liminal spaces where everything seems possible and an opening appears within us that we did not see before.  Is this not what all of our prayer is really about?  Holding out hope for newness to be born again and again within us?  Looking for the opening onto the vast sea we had not seen before through the busyness of our days?

-Christine Valters Paintner

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