Saturday 13.12.2008

Leena Ryhänen, dean, Vaasa


Armless, helpless and even bound! The dark sky and the crescent moon shadow. The pale light of the moon is not enough.

These were my first thoughts when I was looking at visual artist Maire Laasanen’s painting Bound.

I would understand if it had been the artist’s intention to portray last week’s news of politicians money problems and the difficulty of solving those. They have been trying solve the issues for many weeks now, and it has only gotten worse. But she had made the painting before these problems began.

There must be bonds that chain the rest of us too. Everyday livelihood isn’t certain to us all. The prize of basic provisions is rising and many can barely get along. Those with mortgage and debt are faced with troubling news of interest rates getting higher and their living expenses rising. The expenses of families are growing, which means limitations to the quality of life. We all need to be able to cope with everyday expenses.

We need each other. Like in the painting the people are close to each other, so should we able to be. Love, respecting and helping one another, is what our lives should be about. But often we are unable to live, work or even endure each other. The red soil of the painting portrays our hatred, our violence and the way we hurt each other.

We are often bound to our bitterness, our inability to forgive, our hardness. Our lives are shadowed by the dark sky.

The structures of our lives are falling down. Our relationships are marked by their shortness, impatience and messiness. In the name of freedom and self-interest the relationships brake and are replaced by others. Many are left behind and the suffering and the pain tear the life apart.

Family is the basic unit of our society. If it trembles, the secure bonds will brake and life will get harder.

Families and all men are faced with challenges, too hard to bear. Many are broken inside.

I look closely at the ropes in Bound. All of a sudden I see hope.

The character on the left is wearing a royal gown. The ribbons of his gown are royal ribbons. His ropes, his ribbons, all except one, are facing upwards. He is quite close to the others that are bound together. And they all have one rope that is facing upwards. That king is the Lord who has died and resurrected and even today he holds all the power in heaven and in earth.

He says: Come to me, all of you exhausted from burdens and sickness, tired from marriage and relationships, those that work and are stressed, the guilty, the fatigued and the strained, I will make you at ease. He says to us, who are in distress and in need: Peace be with you.

The king is in the light and the people are in the shadow, since I can see the colors of their clothes. One is dressed in turquoise blue and orange, the other in green and pink, and the third in pink and blueish red. And the king is dressed in yellow, green, orange, blue and purple.

In these I can see the city that is to be, the reflection of New Jerusalem. It is embellished with all kinds of expensive stone, jasper, sapphires, emeralds, topazes…

At the right side of our Father, Jesus is praying for us. He is the first and the last, forever living. He has the strength to brake the false chains and bonds, he can free us from our burdens. Let us face forward, we have the future and the hope.