I'm part of an online group that is reading a book together: The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul With Monastic Wisdom. The book is written by Christine Valters Painter, a Benedictine oblate and the woman behind the “online monastery,” Abbey of the Arts (tagline: transformative living through contemplative and expressive arts).
In the first chapter, Painter drew her readers’ attention to some verses from Isaiah that speak of newness. Nearly everyone in the group was intrigued by these verses in our online discussion, as was I. They remind me of another verse, also from Isaiah, that I have long loved.
Since it’s the new year and an appropriate time to think of new things, here are the two sets of verses in case you want to ponder them also. The first are the verses offered by Painter in her book. The second is the similar verse I have often thought about.
Now I am revealing new things to you
Things hidden and unknown to you
Created just now, this very moment.
Of these things you have heard nothing until now.
So that you cannot say, Oh yes I knew this.
Isaiah 4:6-7 (translation?)
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
The thought of things being made new and fresh and verdant, even now, in the background, out of sight is exciting and hopeful. May it be so. May we have hearts to perceive the new thing, the new way, the new refreshment.
[Photo: taken of a room in the American Swedish Institute. We went to their Nordic Christmas exhibit last weekend, and I took several photos that will be popping up on this blog. This room was dedicated to traditions from Finland.]