Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Custodian of Communion Mandala

After a long absence I would like to offer this piece which was presented to a friend on the occasion of his ordination to the priesthood earlier this year.  The description related to this follows...

William Johnston in his 'Christian Mysticism Today' said that he felt the Eucharist, when envisioned as a sacred circle or mandala, was Christianity's most profound symbol and could draw us directly into the deep wholeness of Christ. Following ordination you will now be facilitating people's encounter with the immense reality of Holy Communion. I envisage you as a custodian perhaps even in a similar sense to the Aboriginal folk who are custodians of various sacred lands. 
In the painting the background green recalls that most of the 'work' of the church happens in ordinary time but also that communion is life giving and growthful. Communion is presented, as in the liturgy of the Eucharist, by the priestly hand who represents both the hand of Christ and the hand of humanity.  The red ochre coloured centre seemed to demand that I retain it's spaciousness and avoid the temptation to fill it.  It also highlights our Australian context of the inseparability of Eucharist and our vast land.  Further that, like our landscape this reality is deeply silent at its core.
The  circle of communion captures not only the ritual of the church but also the moment to moment calling of communion. As such it is bejewelled by an idiosyncratic Celtic weaving with gold base. This brings awareness to the wonderfully interconnected nature of the reality that Christ continually invites us to enter into.
Finally the ring of dot work acknowledges that your ordination takes place on Aboriginal land.  The blue glitter at the edges reveals the merging of you as priest and Christian into Union with Christ, land and human community.