Friday, 23 October 2015

Picture prayers: Sieger Köder - Peter, Jesus, waves...

painting by Sieger Köder 
Sometimes, when there are no words, other ways of communicating can speak the more profoundly. The art work of Sieger Köder has often been that wordless well from which to drink in my own life. There's a deceptive simplicity to his paintings, but, I've found as I've sat awhile, reflecting on one or other of his works, that they both draw me in - deeper - and draw me out. Over the years, different paintings have provided a window through which to regain perspective, given a gentle reminder of where comfort and consolation can be found, or made me smile and be at peace. Father Köder's paintings have been a real gift, as well as helping me continually widen my understanding of how wide a word 'ministry' is; here, a ministry with brush, canvas, paint.

The painting here is very possibly my favourite of all Köder's art work. Peter has stepped out of the boat. 
How many steps before the initial enthusiasm that has propelled him above the water wears off, is replaced by a conscious 'oh my word, this can't be possible' thought, that sends him sinking below the waves? 
Stepping out in faith, he finds himself very quickly in over his head. 
The hand reaches up out of the water: 'save me'.
Another, stronger hand, reaches down into the water and does just that. 
In the background, the disciples look on.
Sometimes, I'm Peter.
Sometimes, I'm in the boat, looking on.

However, the times when I feel overwhelmed, sinking under, are the times when this particular painting wanders into my head. As I see it in my mind's-eye, I also notice that I'm somehow breathing again - and hear the thought, with a smile, that 'it's always good to breathe.' 
Echoing Ps 23: I find my soul restored. 
Sometimes, a picture prayer is worth a thousand words...

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