I’m not entirely sure I can see this picture as giving birth, as Stephen Cottrell suggests (p64). I see it more as Christ sitting amongst the desolation and danger, holding danger, fear and possibility – an image I find powerful in itself.
But I’m happy to go along with the birthing suggestion. That from the desolation, the darkness, the fear can come new life.
For there has to be the possibility and hope of the wilderness – it is not the end, there is something else to come, another hope, another way, different potential. Jesus returned from the Wilderness strengthened for his work. Life may never be the same again. Both the wilderness and birth change that, but there will still be life.
Jesus will go from this place to suffer. But his suffering and scars, bring us healing. In the depths of fear, deep in the wilderness, caught up in anger and pain, we may not feel that, but it remains a truth to cling to – sometimes all we can cling to.
In the words to The Romans:
A Wonderful Future for God’s People
18 I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19 In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20 Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21 that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22 We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth.
23 The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24 And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25 However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.
These thoughts are reflecting on Spencer’s painting The Scorpion (seen here at the bottom of the second page).
I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts