"Don’t call me a saint."
[God] has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?.
Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly. These are the simple, straightforward behaviors at the heart of true religion according to Micah.
Jesus’ words to the crowds in Matthew 5:1-12—the Beatitudes, or “blessings”—expand on Micah’s shorthand while also echoing the Torah, the commandments of Moses.
Interestingly, Jesus does not speak these as commands, but as statements of fact, as a preexisting and confoundingly counter-intuitive reality. Blessed are the poor? The mourners? The hungry? Thomas Merton thought a better translation for meek was nonviolent. Blessed are the nonviolent? Here, perhaps we can begin to make some cognitive leap toward what Jesus seems to be naming in Matthew—an upside-downness of this Way of Christ that turns us right-side up.
Enter into worship.[i]
Readings: Micah 6:1-8 † Psalm 15 † 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 † Matthew 5:1-12
About the Art: Kelly Latimore started painting icons in 2011 while a member of the Common Friars from 2009-2013. On her website, she writes, “Our collective work was about being more connected: to ourselves, each other, our surrounding community and the land. This manifested itself as a place called ‘The Good Earth Farm’ where we held weekly services and meals, and grew produce for our community and local food pantries.
Iconography has since become a practice of more considerations: of color and light, of brush stroke and form, symbol and meaning...However, I do not wish to approach Iconography as an art form that simply follows an inherited tradition, knowledge and practice. I want it to be a creative process, meditation, and practice that brings about new self knowledge for the viewer and myself. Who are the saints that are among us here and now?
I was not taught by a traditional Iconographer, and so to some, I am breaking many rules. There are icons here that people may find theologically unsound and wrong, or for others, helpful and inspiring. I think both reactions are important. My hope is that these icons do what all art can potentially do, which is, to create more dialogue.
The other may have something to teach us about what we know, about who God is, the world we live in and who are our neighbors. This is the real work of being human and of art. Being more present.
[i] Latimore, Kelly. Dorothy Day with Homeless Christ, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57122 [retrieved January 19, 2023]. Original source: Kelly Latimore Icons, https://kellylatimoreicons.com/.
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