Advent in Art 10 : 'Choice or Chosen' by Andrew Dallaston & Karen Plimmer

Andrew Dallaston
Sunday, 12 December 2010

Two number fours collaborating on the annunciation – if you know the enneagram you might expect a double dose of self indulgent melancholy but in fact Karen and I had a lot of fun making this video and avoided sucking all the optimism out of the story.


Karen did all the sound... flute, piano, voice over, singing and wrote the song. I love the way she created a sense of quiet, reverential joy in the song. Joy as we all know is a much deeper, more serious emotion than happiness.


The words of the song are based on Luke's account in the Message translation..... and the art works are just a few of the ones I down loaded from the net where there are hundreds... from the ancient and quaint to the modern and extremely strange. I went for mostly modern but avoided the most weird ones – Mary as half a polar bear, Mary conceiving in an SUV, Mary on the Matrix etc. I like the way the modern paintings play round with the old symbols... the Angel presenting Mary with a flower, the Holy Spirit as a bird above them. I also enjoyed putting in some different ethnic annunciations – as an antidote to the sickly blond baby Jesus scenes on Christmas cards and in little Nativity scenes. Christ should come to all peoples through their own culture.


The video footage that goes with poem I shot mostly around Big King – which is my mountain – with some at Piha and a little bit up at Matakana. The poem is obviously about choosing and I chose this theme because when I first looked closely at the story in Luke – Mary doesn't seem to be given much of a choice.


It goes like this “Hey beautiful, you're gonna be pregnant.” “That's impossible, I'm a virgin!” “Nothing is impossible with God. You're gonna have his son... you lucky, lucky girl!” “Oh, that's all right then, I'll do whatever he says.” Or words to that effect.


I wonder how a modern western woman would receive that news – with disbelief, anger, refusal? Would she consider abortion? Would Jesus be born at all?” We are much more aware of individual rights especially woman's rights than Luke in his thoroughly male dominated society. I don't that Luke ever imagined that any woman would refuse such an honor. But to give Luke his due he was actually a remarkable feminist for his time. The fact that the angel gives the news to Mary and not her father or Joseph is exceptional. Matthew begins his gospel with Joseph's genealogy and then tells the story briefly from Joseph's point of view. Mary barely gets a mention. Mark and John leave it out altogether. It's only Luke who puts Mary in the center stage.


“And did she choose, this dark haired virgin girl, to let the hope of heaven inseminate her womb.”

I believe she did. I believe Mary had a choice even if she didn't choose the pregnancy she chose how to react. Our God is not a rapist! God doesn't force himself on us or kick our doors down. God stands at the door and knocks. We choose whether to let God into our lives and our decisions.


Every day we make so many choices – most of them seemingly trivial but the people we are, the people we are becoming, is largely the result of many little choices. Every now and then we're faced with bigger choices and sometimes the options are – on the one hand a challenging, maybe frightening but ultimately life expanding choice and an easier, safer option which usually means missing an opportunity. These days I've become an easy option – stay in bed or on the sand – sort of person so I'm being a complete hypocrite recommending the harder options – a bit like an alcoholic recommending abstinence – but there again who is better qualified.


Can I encourage you to let God into all your choices. To open your core to a potent power and – like Mary – let God bring something wonderful into our world through you – allow your true tomorrow – not some shabby compromise – but the full potential of what God longs for you to be – let your true tomorrow leap to life inside you. Amen.