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  • Writer's pictureMountain Fellowship

Mona Hatoum, Remains of the Day, 2016-2018

As per Remains of the Day, Hatoum would acknowledge the vulnerability and honesty of the piece, even despair. Some might call it uncanny, a strange and mysterious way of unsettling a viewer. Looking at this piece the absent family seems beyond repair. However, when I look at this installation, I think of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. Even if he didn't sink the knife into his son's chest, he was at least mentally and physically there; Abraham's question is similar to ours. Would God break his covenant, would God break his heart, he had to wonder, which in the ancient world was unthinkable. 

Inconceivable as it was for Abraham, do we have the audacity to believe that God will heal our broken families, families covenanted by God? From the mundane interactions that I have with my children to the more serious, how do they process my judgment and latent dissatisfaction with their thoughts or actions. They just feel the disappointment I'm sure. To be sure, and truly, what they see is that I’m most unsatisfied with myself. Nothing I can do to make it right, I tell myself, but I tell myself something more messed up than that. I need to kneel and pray. 

The opposite of fear is hope, I once told a college professor. Hope is found in our conversation with the Triune God in our life of prayer. In the end, while I trust my art to point me to my knees, I know if I trusted my art to be my hope I would be truly lost. Transcendent, maybe, but it is the gospel of Christ's initiative that moves my life to hope. 

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