Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘The Weakness of Matisse’
Three readings, we might imagine, open a space for understanding, for inter-
On this first Sunday in NAIDOC Week we might consider the space we share with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander siblings. The importance/preciousness of country, land, water, home. The dislocations and forced separations, the dispossession and destruction of language and culture – a certain homelessness (affecting both first and second peoples).
Second peoples might do more than simply empathise, moving to explore the full potential of decolonisation – truth-
The artwork on our printed orders is by Henri Matisse – a detail from a panel of ceramic tiles in the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France (1951). We see the Madonna and Child but note the postures – it is as though Mary were offering her child to the world; Jesus assumes the cruciform pose of his destiny as lover of the world. The scene is one of heavenly clouds and/or flowers. Universal salvation (the arms and hands of Jesus are open to the elements). Strength perfected in weakness. Earthly and heavenly homes.
The longer story is extraordinary. The panel is from one interior wall of a chapel whose large stained-
The modern master of oils and bronze had suffered the trauma of war and Nazi occupation, as well as emergency surgery for intestinal cancer. He was dependent for home-
The artist designed every aspect of the building (the Dominican Sisters had no chapel), down to the vestments to be worn by the priests who would preside over services. He used a charcoal-
“Do you believe in God?” an incredulous fellow artist reportedly inquired of Matisse. “I do when I am working,” Matisse replied.
We might imagine the many crossings of prayer and hospitality – between Henri and Sister Jacques-
In the midst of God’s temple/chapel/church, as the embodiment of “steadfast love” in this place, how do we imagine ourselves at home? How do we imagine ourselves coming home?
Sensitive to home-
How might we work together (younger and older members) to keep the story (good news for the poor, glad tidings for the weak) open (that is, hospitable) to the other and to the future?
In the silence let us receive what the Spirit brings … Amen.