Lent Week 3 – Proposal


Since I know precisely what I need
this proposal is made in triplicate,
empowered by removing weaknesses.
Early projections indicate immediate success.

This proposal is made in triplicate.
Let me walk you through the numbers.
Early projections indicate immediate success.
You can’t ascend unless you first descend.

Let me walk you through the numbers.
Sell everything and give it to the poor;
you can’t ascend unless you first descend.
But how can these things be?

Sell everything and give it to the poor.
Inheritance comes happily to the meek.
But how can these things be?
Take up your cross and follow me –

Inheritance comes happily to the meek,
empowered by moving in weakness.
Take up your cross and follow me,
since I know precisely what you need.

© 2017 – Laurel Archer

Invitation to Dance
Acrylic on Canvas
15.5″ x 19.5″

Our word this week was Proposal.  Laurel led, wrote ‘Proposals’ and sent it on to Karen, who painted Invitation to Dance in response.  Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or respond in some creative way to either of the pieces.

Laurel on her Process:  I’m not sure I’m conscious of it or not, but sometimes a poem will lead with language and sometimes with images. Our word this week, ‘proposal’ led me with language. Specifically, the language of the corporate presentation. I was thinking about the great ideas I’ve had about what I should do with my life – how I’ve presented them to God for his approval – many times, if I’m honest, trying to sell the idea, convince God to let me. Maybe you know how it goes. But that got me thinking about God’s proposals to me, how different the language is, how different are the outcomes. I wanted to try to create a conversation between these two voices.

The poem, ‘Proposals’ is a Pantoum, which has been described as ‘always looking back over its shoulder…turning back while moving forward’ – since it uses a set pattern of repeating lines 1 and 3 from the previous stanza as lines 2 and 4 in the next stanza. I thought it would work well to illustrate the kind of conversations I have with God. I borrowed from and was comforted by some of the great proposals we have record of in scripture – Paul’s request to be freed from his affliction (my proposal made in triplicate), the Rich Young Ruler’s encounter with Jesus and Nicodemus’ honest exasperation – ‘How can these things be?’  The form allows for a bit of back and forth, being slowly ‘won over’ in the end to Jesus’ way.

Karen on her Process: This poem spoke to me of all the varying aspects that make up my life right now. I began to question how I could possibly do the poem justice by creating a visual image that might speak the language of the piece. Every line wove pieces of my life together.

Stillness. Quiet. Breath. Searching the blank canvas I began to see images and I picked up a pencil to sketch them in. When I look at the painting now, I realize that there are three of me, three of you perhaps. Laurel’s poem tells of the invitation that awaits us to descend, to be empowered by our weaknesses, to give to the poor (which may at times include yourself), to take up our burden…finding our whole and valued self. The proposal is rich. You and I have been invited into a dance of life.

Peace friends, Laurel and Karen


2 thoughts on “Lent Week 3 – Proposal

  1. Love the image Karen. The 3 dancing- a proposal to drop your burdens weakness doubt and to dance. I know the symbolism of the trinity but also stating that there is 3 of you – 3 of me…how do you see yourself in 3 parts? Body mind spirit? I often think of 4 in a circle (also First Nations symbolism influence) rather than 3 so I wonder….

  2. Lynne,
    At the time of looking at the blank canvas and wondering, three images revealed themselves in lines and so I began to sketch them in one at a time, I did not see more so went with three. They seemed to be united. After painting them in I realized there was a younger expectant mother version and aging version of myself. The image with the green gown for me represented who I am with the likelihood of a Sami Nation heritage as well as my artistic rebirthing. As I type now though I realize the one represented two…There really could have been several of me there, a childhood version, a teen, even a baby…but only noticing three shapes, I followed them. I hope that might give some insight into your wonderings. Karen

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