Image: Annette Hanrahan, ‘Cosmic Christ’ (detail), 2013.

‘Pointing a way’

Andrew Collis
Advent 2, Year B
Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85; Mark 1:1-8

In the course of his preaching, John said, “One more powerful than I is to come after me …”

Despite the apparent success of his ministry, John the Baptist points away from himself to the one who is to come. This is the task of all who are called to ministry of any kind in the service of Christ, to always point away from themselves and towards Christ.

Pointing away from ourselves and towards Christ means encouraging imaginative engagements with the world; more pointedly, with country …

Pointing away from ourselves and towards Christ entails an awareness of our own obsessions with doom and judgement …

Pointing away from ourselves and towards Christ will mean pointing towards community solutions …

This week we read: Act for Peace’s local partner, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission, supports refugees like Sara, who fled from Yemen eight years ago with her four children. The Commission helped provide Sara training and medical treatment for her son.

Christmas Bowl donations – helping to protect girls and women from gender-based violence – can be made via donation envelopes in the church or via our SSUC link: …

Ultimately, pointing towards Christ means participation in Christ’s way – the way of Christ who points away from himself … to the fullness of salvation … to God’s rule … to Hope/Amanaki, Peace/Melino, Joy/Fiefia and Love/’Ofa

Sr Annett Hanrahan discusses her pointing/painting of the Cosmic Christ:

“I live in the South Pacific, in New Zealand, which is a multi-cultural country, including Maori, Polynesian, Pakeha and peoples from all parts of Asia. I could not find any images that spoke to me or to any of us of a powerful, loving God, with an all-embracing, all-forgiving love that we as human beings can open to and understand in our very humanness.

“I wanted to probe the incarnational reality of God in Christ and in all of creation in a language that might have some meaning in my world.

“So, Christ is seated in a posture similar to the prayer posture of many in the east, and of the Polynesian peoples of the Pacific. His features have a Polynesian quality.

“He is holding his cross, which is transparent, for it is part of, and dialogues with, the earth, but Christ has moved beyond it.

“Christ’s eyes are closed as he is one with the Creator, and in that deep communication, he is a powerful and strong channel, river even, of the flow of the love of God to slake our thirst.

“It has become a very meaningful image of Christ for the students at Baradene, the Sacred Heart School in Auckland, who see in it a strong ecological meaning for our time and call it our Cosmic Christ.”

In closing, a short verse inspired by Isaiah 40: “Mountains felled and valleys raised / Liveliness and loveliness be praised // Yahweh on our way, the way / The clouds are different every day // Mountains felled and valleys raised / Liveliness and loveliness be praised // The mountain lows, the valley looks up / We all look happy to be us // Mountains felled and valleys raised / Liveliness and loveliness be praised.” Amen.