My friend Joe sent my a great Sunday Opinion piece from the New York Times. – It’s titled Gadsden Finds God. It is the story of what can happen when people put energy, effort, care, and love into the most vulnerable. It is story of small gains that lead to life changing gains. The piece is a photo spread of photographer Fred R Conrad. The pictures are very stirring and tell the story of what Jesus can do when the people of God are intentional about laying aside judgement while investing acts of love.
The most moving of the images in my opinion is the Header photo. Conrad captured a young woman named Caria Shorter, holding her three month old child on the front porch of a shelter provided to her by couple of faith in Gadsden. The light is landing on her and her babe, making them absolutely radiant. At Church yesterday, Joe talked about the image and how it is really the image if Madonna and Child. I could not agree more.
Have a look at the image and read the words of the Magnificat – Mary’s Song.
My soul lifts up the Lord!
My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator!
For though I’m God’s humble servant,
God has noticed me.
Now and forever,
I will be considered blessed by all generations.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
holy is God’s name!
From generation to generation,
God’s loving-kindness endures
for those who revere Him.
God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds.
The proud in mind and heart,
God has sent away in disarray.
The rulers from their high positions of power,
God has brought down low.
And those who were humble and lowly,
God has elevated with dignity.
The hungry—God has filled with fine food.
The rich—God has dismissed with nothing in their hands.
To Israel, God’s servant,
God has given help,
As promised to our ancestors,
remembering Abraham and his descendants in mercy forever.
The Song of Mary is revolutionary. It is a declaration that God favours the humble and the lowly, the weak and the vulnerable. It is a declaration that God can and will upset the old order and liberate those who have been oppressed and elevate those who have suffered. The story of the people of Gadsden and the work that is being done there are a glimpse of what that might look like.
The photo above is, perhaps, a more accurate rendering of Madonna and Child, than the pristine images that we are used to seeing in the churches and chapels. Each day we can look to see Madonna and Child around us. Each day we have opportunity to seek opportunities to serve Jesus. Fred Conrad visited Gadsden, took a look on a porch, saw a mother and her son and snapped a photo. I like to imagine that he took some film to a dark room, placed his negatives into solution, and watched as the image that developed in front of him was the beautiful picture printed in the NY Times last Sunday ~ a candid moment between Jesus and his Mom. Keep your eyes open – you just don’t know where Jesus and his Mom will turn up next…..
As always, your feedback is welcome