_The picture above is Henry Ossawa Tanner's 1898 painting of the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel's appearance to Mary. I find my gaze repeatedly returning to that angel of light, and to Mary's face and hands.
This morning I was working with the story of Gabriel's visit to Mary in Luke 1: 26 - 38, in preparation for some gatherings later this week, and my attention was caught by the word "overshadow" in verse 35. The power of the Most High will overshadow you...
Overshadow: To cast a shadow over, to darken or obscure.
The same word shows up in the various gospel accounts of the transfiguration, the glory that comes over Jesus on the mountain, as he talks with Moses and Elijah. A cloud -- or in Matthew's version, a bright cloud -- comes and overshadows the three disciples who are watching.
This "bright cloud" is a reference to the Shekinah, the cloud that filled the temple when it was first built, which is experienced as both thick darkness and as the radiant glory of God, a sign of the in-dwelling of God in that place.
So what kind of shadow does a bright cloud cast?
What light shines when we reflect that radiant glory?
Here's a mix of cloud and light and shadow and reflections, an image received at the end of October, near the Goshen dam.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"