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Advent - December 17th

By Rev. Cynthia Klingemier - Friday December 17, 2021

Friday, December 17th


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in God, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13


Disappearing Hope OR God’s Love Revealed?


At last I was ready to begin. The project had been on my mind for a few days, but I had been unable to locate the needed supplies. I was certain I had a small paint brush with narrow bristles somewhere in the house. Where in the house was the question. I tried the laundry room. Then looked in the plastic bin on the shelf that holds miscellany. Then checked out the junk drawer in the kitchen that seems junkier at each opening. Then descended the basement stairs and searched the small work bench there. I had no success in my search until I finally slid open the top drawer in the upstairs desk in the back bedroom. And there it was. Not the single unused new paint brush I desired, but I saw and reached for an item that would work equally well for my project. The narrow blue plastic case with the clear plastic lid held one paint brush and eight small ovals of color. The cheap children’s paint set didn’t respect the ROYGBIV spectrum, but colors were well-represented by the line-up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and black. I only desired the paint set’s brush for my project, but had second thoughts when the narrow strip of colors presented themselves to me.


I had already selected the four rocks for my project. Flat stones. Palm size. Worn smooth by Lake Erie waters. I had gathered the stones over the course of the summer from the lake’s shore. And now I had four simple stones on my kitchen counter waiting patiently for my artwork to begin.


The color palette before me. The water dish prepared. The brush at the ready. All set to start my work. I am an artist in words, not by brush. I knew the challenge before me was large indeed. Four Great Lakes’ smooth stones, one narrow bristle brush, eight color choices, four words in mind. I knew the basics – dip the brush’s bristles in water, take brush to the color oval, move brush with paint toward the rock surface, connect bristles and paint with stone’s surface. Easy enough it would seem. Yet the proverb “things are not always as they seem” is a wise saying for a reason.


I start with the shortest word and the smoothest stone. J-O-Y in purple. My hand steady, and the stone’s paint holding firm. Success. I am indeed joy-filled. L-O-V-E comes easily too as my brush dips in orange and moves confidently across the next stone. I tackle H-O-P-E next. Not quite right. The color too light. Too much water on the letter O. Water widening and bleeding into other letters’ lines. I move onto the longest word and the biggest stone. P-E-A-C-E. Looks better than I thought it might. Good thing I practiced on shorter words and smaller stones. As my art project nears completion, I notice something happening. My H-O-P-E is disappearing, the letter O already gone. The disappearing act has begun and continues its disappointing magic. The stone becomes more barren as the water continues to dry, the paint continues to lighten, and my hope, literally and figuratively, is going away. What to do?


Several more times I dip the brush in water. Some more times I choose different colors. Maybe a darker color will help for my disappearing H-O-P-E and its quickly vanishing O. After each brush dip and stroke I summon up the nervous patience of a child and impatiently let the paint dry for a bit to see if my H-O-P-E will remain. I really desire this H-O-P-E to stay. I don’t want to lose my H-O-P-E on the rock’s surface just as I don’t want to lose any hope that has been painted on my heart.


It is when I am watching that O, caring for that O, rooting for both my stone’s H-O-P-E and my heart’s hope to stay, that the thought comes to me: God holds equal vigilance over God’s hope for humanity. God’s paintbrush is busy every moment of every day painting hope for the people, bringing hope to creation, offering hope to the created. Like me and my amateur art project, God’s painting is not finished until each brush stroke is just right, until each element of H-O-P-E stands out from even the dullest surface, until H-O-P-E in capital letters remains painted on each heart. Steady and steadfast does our great artistic Yahweh God paint, create. And I give thanks that even in this world of disappearing H-O-P-E the constancy of God’s persevering spirit and painting creativity continues to bring hope to all. 

 

Rev. Cynthia Klingemier
Regional Elder OH District 4 and Commission on Ministry Team 1 Leader 
Revckdoc91@gmail.com

 



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