Creative response to a new future

For the first 30 days of shelter in place with COVID-19, I found myself making a retreat. This time of reflection led to a meditation on the Gospel of John. Since I process in imagery, when a passage moved me I completed a page in my art journal.

As I reflected on the ministry of John the Baptist, I made a connection with my own ministry as an artist: how does one see what is, then show what is? Encountering a deeper truth, how can I make it real for others?

Those who know me know that I can be pretty irreverent. This is no lack of respect towards God: it is the ultimate respect to my Creator who made me and before a word is on my tongue knows the whole of it. So I speak plainly to my God. 

As I read this Gospel I created little collages to express my reactions and my responses. This is not the Gospel of John: this little book is my sharing how that Gospel affected me during “Shelter in Place” when I could not go outward. So I went inward. I named the collage journal Coming Back to Life.

In touch with a larger reality

I didn’t process my feelings about COVID-19. Praying through the Gospel of John put me in touch with a larger reality – and with us walking in such an unknown, I walked with the disciples as they struggled to understand what Jesus was telling them.

The collages were the ways I processed the biblical texts. I’m kinesthetic; I learn with my hands on things. Handling collage pieces planted the texts deeper in me. I did the psalms some years ago, and it was the same effect.

I would hope people would experience my collaged journal as an invitation to do the same, to find whatever is meaningful to them,  whether to process a text or deal with feelings around the pandemic.

Looking for a way to serve

In part, creating the journal was me personally as an artist looking for a way to serve in this extremely limited situation, hence putting it in the Good Shepherd Arts Center newsletter. The center is closed and we don’t know when we can open again. How can we reach out to people through the arts? That was part of the process I went through when creating the journal Coming Back to Life.

The journal is a fairly large document and had to be divided into three parts. 

Part I Jesus Begins Public Ministry

Part II Miracles and Teachings, the Last Discourse

Part III Passion and Resurrection

Read more stories about Good Shepherd Arts Center in the Province newsletter Items of Interest. 

Glynis McManamon

Glynis McManamon

Sister Glynis McManamon is engaged in a ministry of the arts, with a special interest in the Byzantine style, and more so, in the creation of sacred art featuring women and diverse ethnic groups. She is the founder and director of Good Shepherd Arts Center in Ferguson, Missouri.