Surrounded Islands,
Christo (1935-2020) & Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009),
Poster, Biscayne Bay, 1983,
Photo by Wolfgang Volz
© Christo & Jean-Claude

Surrounded Islands,
Christo (1935-2020) & Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009),
Poster, Biscayne Bay, 1983,
Photo by Wolfgang Volz
© Christo & Jean-Claude

Gospel of 3 February 2024

You must come away and rest for a while

Mark 6:30-34

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

Reflection on the art installation

At the beginning of our Gospel reading today, the disciples return to Jesus after completing the mission on which Jesus had sent them. They were keen to share with him all they had done and taught. The response of Jesus was to take them away to a deserted place where they could rest. Jesus thereby affirms the value of rest and recreation. In fact, he consecrates this time of rest. Furthermore, in the first chapter of the Bible in the Book of Genesis, we are told that even God rested after working for six days. We all need a regular time of rest and recreation.

‘Recreation’ suggests new creation, 're'-creation.

We all need to be created anew on a regular basis. Physically we can do this by going on holidays if time and money permit this. But we constantly have to be created anew as well spiritually. When we go to Church, that is what we do: we rest with God and offer him the opportunity to renew us.

When we think of holidays and resting, our minds may wander off to idyllic islands with blue skies and clear waters. On 7 May 1983, contemporary artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude installed their project 'Surrounded Islands' in Biscayne Bay, close to Miami. Eleven of the islands were surrounded with 603,870 square meters (6.5 million square feet) of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric covering the surface of the water and extending out 61 meters (200 feet) from each island into the bay. The fabric was sewn into 79 patterns to follow the contours of the eleven islands. For two weeks, Surrounded Islands, spreading over 11.3 kilometres (7 miles), was seen, approached and enjoyed by the public, from the causeways, the land, the water and the air. Before the installation, marine and land crews picked up debris from the eleven islands, putting refuse in bags and carrying it away after they had removed some forty tons of varied garbage. As part of the project the islands were cleaned up. The pink fabric was recycled. As with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's previous art projects, Surrounded Islands was entirely financed by the artists, through the sale of preparatory drawings, collages, and early works. The artists did not accept sponsorship of any kind.

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Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
25 days ago

I wish I could post a photo of a really beautiful piece of installation art. It’s anonymous, or was, as it has now collapsed, though it’s attributed to the Borrowdale Banksy. It was a stone circle, set in a dry stone wall in the Borrowdale Valley Cumbria, and resembling an enormous eye, framing the wild hills and valleys beyond. So lovely, so related to its setting, constructed without cement – so wind and weather eventually caused its fall. Google “Borrowdale Banksy stone circle”. It seems there have been several versions.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
25 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

TY Noelle…….I googled it and they mention that a new “Borrowdale Banksy” has been spotted in the Lake District.
I feel a sense of fernweh now….the germans have such wonderful words and idioms ……you know that sense of melancholia and wanting to travel.
I haven’t travelled abroad in ages……after I clean up my life, thats what I plan on doing …. It will motivate me to get going!
Anyway, reading your comments and so many of the other comments today made me think of a scene from an old movie I recently watched……CS Lewis had a framed picture of the “Golden Valley” in Herefordshire and his wife saw the picture, etc and she was determined to find the location of it.. …very touching scene. To find a beautiful place …a heaven on earth… and to share it with someone……LOL i sound so odd, but there it is.
Anyway, England is so beautiful……..so many places to see……I must get a bucket list to motivate me!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
25 days ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

So glad you found it, Jamie. Make a small bucket list for starters, and good luck…

Michele Jahncke
Member
Michele Jahncke
25 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Thank you! Those sculptures are beautiful and fit the locale so well!

Michele Jahncke
Member
Michele Jahncke
26 days ago

I have not studied these artists but do recall coming across them and their works before. I imagine in ’83 they were thinking “flamingo pink” given the location. I also wonder if their works were intentional to draw people to pause and look at nature. I recall my first time through the Alps on the train…the joy and wonder and magnificence of it all, while most people (locals) read their newspapers, presumably numb to the beauty surrounding them as they focused on other things. I am the same. To admire nature and to rest must be intentional on my part. Ultimately Jesus Christ is our rest (Hebrews)! But daily I have to pause or my vision is skewed.

As single mom to two teenage girls still “in the nest”, I find my time is rarely my own. Though not the international trips I am dreaming of, I do rent an Air bnb several times a year within a 3 hour radius. These are sometimes for writing and sometimes I feel called to just “be” in a way I cannot at home with all the demands of life. my girls like the break from me as well.

@Thimas@ , you might check out the podcast “the Bible Project” they are going slowly through the Sermon on the Mount. I love to hear the background of the original languages and times that help me delve into what Jesus was saying then and what He is saying to me now.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
26 days ago

Good to have you back Janey! You have been missed. I agree that there isn’t much peace in popular tourist traps but it is very possible to find space in less well known spots (we keep them secret if we find them!) here in the UK. I am a frequenter of many of these place here, ‘up north.’

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
26 days ago

Nice to see you Janey.
Yes, crowds are SO stressful and everywhere you go on these isles! No wonder Jesus and the apostles needed to get away – a feeling that is very familiar.

Rosemary Hart
Member
Rosemary Hart
26 days ago

I’ve posted my thoughts on Barbie-pink interference with natural beauty, now for my thoughts on rest? I’d love it! I’ve mentioned before that I’m an artist. There’s nothing I enjoy more than chilling out while I enjoy solving the challenges of a new painting (Yes, relaxation and activity rolled into one, crowned by the knowledge that whenever I ask God what He wants me to do, He answers “Paint, Paint, Paint!)

Recently I’ve started to have art exhibitions, which sounds like fun, but stops being fun at all when you discover how much incredibly hard work it involves behind the scenes. I get desperate for a rest but have to postpone it, usually for longer than I expected because of the build-up of other jobs that need doing. It’s also expensive. A lot of the expense, like buying The Monster (a huge ink-hungry cantankerous printer that’s specialised for quality prints of artwork) is a one-off. If I stop having exhibitions I’ll never recoup the (sometimes) unexpected expenses (much bigger than you expect… it’s topped the £1,000 mark!) and be permanently landed with two versions of each painting around the house (the original and the print). So I carry on.

Yesterday I was talking to a lovely lady in charge of the venue where I had my first exhibition last year, and she mentioned the need for new work, which was exactly what I was thinking myself. It’s no good people walking in and thinking; “Oh, seen everything before…!” How many new paintings do I need to do? I’ve got a mental list as long as my arm. I should be overjoyed at the idea of doing a dozen paintings this year. Instead I’m wondering how I can ever make the time because of all the other stuff!

Meanwhile I need holidays! I’ve been invited…. I don’t want to postpone going to see friends abroad. I haven’t been abroad since 2004. I doubt I’ll ever return to Nepal because I believe it’s not the country it used to be and I want to remember it as it was, but there are all those other destinations…

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
26 days ago
Reply to  Rosemary Hart

An interesting read! We’re going to Sicily after Easter. You could spend a lifetime going round that island looking at the Baroque glories. I’m crossing off the Far East from my bucket list.
Now to be a bit controversial. People always say they love travelling but perhaps it’s time they stopped!! Too many people travelling too far and not even taking in what they see when they get there…It’s a big element in the destruction of our planet. Maybe a little train trip up to the Yorkshire Moors is what we should be aspiring to?

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
26 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

A sight that makes me absolutely furious is large groups descending on a site, posing in front of a monument, taking snaps of each other, and leaving with scarcely a glance at their surroundings. Ggrrrr…..
Lovely Sicily, from what I’ve seen on the box! Thanks to Montalbano for teaching me some Italian slang and gestures! We look forward to your journal, Chazbo…..

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
26 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

We went to Toledo to look at El Greco’s masterpiece, The Burial of Count Orgaz in the Church of St Thomas. There were dozens of Chinese tourists all with their backs to the painting taking selfies!!!! I scattered them in order to admire it and show my family 😀

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
26 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Same experience for us in the Ufizzi… maddening. They descend in large flocks, click click click… and don’t even seem to LOOK at the paintings.

Last edited 26 days ago by Patricia O'Brien
Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
26 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Well done! I was fortunate to see it in peace, several years ago. How well El Greco captured the Castillian spirit.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
26 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

It is curious that after the pandemic of COVID at least in Spain there are not so many Chinese. I have not traveled outside in these years

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
25 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Great. There is an interesting show by Waldemar Januchak? on Sky Arts at present about Mannerism of which movement El Greco was certainly part of.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
25 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Must look out for it, thanks, Chazbo.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
25 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

He’s always good, so entertaining. Catholic of course, which adds mightily to his knowledge and understanding. I think he’s wandered from the fold now…

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
25 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Chazbo…….Toledo!! El Greco!! ……I remember you said you saw the Prodigal Son in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg…..I am green with envy of you ….. I want your life LOL!!!!
okay I have to take a deep breath!
A priest told me once that humility overcomes the sin of pride…….okay I have done that!
Now I must realize that kindness overcomes the sin of envy!!!!!
I must be kind today to stop my envy.
Seriously……..you are lucky………Lefty Gomez said: “I’d rather be lucky than good”……oh well.
I will have to settle with being good??? LOL

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
25 days ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Not me Jamie. Never saw it in my life! Lol !
St Petersburg is a horrible city for SO many reasons.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
26 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I am envious of your lifestyle Chazbo. I don’t even have a bucket list.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I agree with SFG……and it is nice to know that some people can travel all over and see the great works of art in person.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
26 days ago
Reply to  Rosemary Hart

I am very envious of your ability to indulge your passion Rosemary, not everyone gets to do that and I wish you all success with your exhibition. I saw a poster recently that said, ‘Never let goof your dreams’ and then underneath, ‘go back to bed.’ I found this described me and certainly made me laugh!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
26 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Love the dry wit, with its tincture of truth!

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Okay now thats one I can remember: Never let go of your dreams….go back to bed!
I needed a good laugh! 🙂

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
26 days ago

You can just imagine the exhaustion of those apostles, and indeed Christ Himself. People clamouring all the time to get something.
A thought occurred to me…Jesus never set out saying ‘Right, who wants to be healed? Step this way…” though of course, He did heal along the way, and most often,when asked. His teaching was His focus and surely the most important aspect, leading to eternal life, not a temporary ‘cure’ lasting only this brief one.
Yes, they would have been worn out being badgered all the time.
R and R essential there.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
25 days ago

Well….maybe Christ did ask……..“Do you want to get well?”
I remember the passage in John ….the pool of Bethesda…..John 5: 1-9
I once listened on youtube to this amazing homily by a priest from Blackfriars in Oxford.
He explained the passage………Do you want to get well?
Its an important question……some of us, in a weird kind of way, prefer somehow not to want to get well.
Anyway, I agree with you…. Christ and his apostles must have been exhausted!

Readings related to Mark 6:30-34

6 February 2021

Mark 6:30-34

You must come away to some lonely place

5 February 2020

Mark 6:1-6

A prophet is only despised in his own country

29 August 2019

Mark 6:17-29

The beheading of John the Baptist

3 February 2021

Mark 6:1-6

This is the carpenter, surely?

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