One of the things I decided to do, when we were asked to stay at home, was to begin learning a new skill. I chose to learn how to make and produce linocut prints. I can remember making one in school many years ago. The plain flat grey surface of the lino being cut away, leaving some parts untouched and in relief. These ready to hold the ink and produce your image on the paper. A transformation of sorts.
Lesson one is to keep your hand behind the cutting tool. A few plasters later, and my lesson learnt, the image appears. It is a strangely therapeutic activity.
It reminds me of my journey in Christian discipleship. There are parts of my life I need to cut away so that what is left becomes prominent and able to better convey my life’s message to others. The question to consider is what the nature of that message is? There would have been a time when I would have begun with what I do. Now I begin with who I am, a better place by far. I am a child of God.
St John reminds us: ‘See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.’ 1 John 3:1. Spring is a time of transformation. The weather is getting warmer. Nature is ‘awakening’ with new growth and birdsong pierces the quiet of a Winter now past. So too, our discipleship is awakened by the Holy Spirit, who reminds us that we are children of God. He effects a transformation, pruning in a way, to better reveal our identity. Our life is transformed, with new depths and lines that produce a clearer message with each cut. The transforming work of God’s love.
Ven. Robert Miller is Archdeacon of Derry, Church of Ireland, Diocese of Derry and Raphoe