Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Archive for March, 2019

Walking On Water

Walking on Water - Stocksnap - VERT

Walking On Water – Stocksnap

Walking on water (Matt 14:25-31) is God’s invitation for me to move forward in life, through thick and thin. And it works very well as long as I am staring into the face of Christ. At that moment, I am not thinking about what’s going on around me or whether this is possible or not. I am only gazing intently into the face of the One whom I love so deeply, Christ Jesus.

This realization came about because I was having difficulty managing my own reaction to bad news. I am deeply affected by how we humans treat Father God; how we humans treat one another; how we humans treat the gift of our home, the Earth.

Oh, and I need to tell you that when I use the phrase, Father God, I am referring to all three persons of the Holy Trinity, not just God, the Father, Almighty.

What so often happens is that I allow myself to become focused on the problem and seem to forget the solution which is my Beloved Father God. I allow myself to become focused on what’s amiss and is paining me instead of moving into an intimate embrace of Father God.

Meditations of Quiet

I can step into His embrace simply by stopping my fretting and doing a quieting meditation on a particular passage of scripture. I often use Psalm 46:10 or John 14:6. I focus specifically on the words of action. For example from Psalm 46; Be STILL and KNOW that I AM GOD. Or from John 14; I AM the WAY the TRUTH, and the LIFE. These meditations help to bring me back to a focus on Father.

Meditating upon Father reminds me of several important things. First, that this world and her people aren’t my personal problem. The world is Father God’s project. The best that I can personally do is to speak to people one at a time through the artwork we make. Talking to people’s hearts is what the art that Father and I make is all about. Each book that we write, each painting that we make, each has an audience. It is Father’s Holy Spirit who prepares the hearts of individuals to receive His invitation of love. These preparations are Father’s role, not mine.

Second, and especially useful to me, is the power of just being still and quiet. That’s the terrific gift in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” This particular Psalm has several invitations into Father’s embrace. Whenever I am out of sorts, to be still is perhaps the most crucial inner state of being. To know – not in my head, but in my heart – is a confidence builder for me. It’s a commitment to trust Him; that Father has everything under control. I can relax and get on with my walking on water.

Writing & Journaling

I can also move into His embrace by writing in my two-way journal in which I have meaningful conversations with Father. What I enjoy about these times is the free exchange I have with Father. It’s as if we’re both in me – well, we actually are – and we’ve met at a heavenly coffee shop, and we’re chatting about what’s on our hearts.

Again, this communion with Father brings my eyes off the water upon which I am walking, and the many fish below who are living their lives, and it draws me into the loving eyes of Father God. When I am writing, just as I am right now, it’s as if I am transported to another place and time. It’s only Beloved and me with no one to disturb our peace.

Writing is, for me, the equivalent to ascending and seeing in the Spirit. That’s what I mean about being transported. It is in these states of being that exchange happens. It’s an intimate exchange, spirit to Spirit, a mystic union if you will. In these states of seeing and ascending, I can bring whatever is of concern to me and seek Father’s counsel.

The bottom line for me is that anything, whether writing or meditation, which draws my gaze and attention to Him is all that I need to continue walking atop the troubled waters of life. Gazing into His love and beauty reminds me that these matters aren’t my personal problem to solve. Falling into His embrace reminds me of the God-given gift that I am to the world and that the one thing I can do to make a difference is praying through the art that Father God and I make every day.

For more perspective on dealing with life challenges and difficulties, see my two-part post on the Crown of Thorns; Enduring Hardship; Love and Dignity.

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Part 2 – Crown of Thorns: Love and Dignity

 

crown of thorns - flickr: commons

Crown of Thorns – flickr commons

Re-post from NW Ekklesia.com

 

In a previous post, I shared my vision of seeing and receiving my Crown of Thorns. At that time Father God had given me a spiritual tool to help me endure life’s challenges without feeling a desire to give up. My Crown of Thorns enables me to keep moving into creation, life, and light. It reminds me that I am loved and am not alone.

Since then Father has also revealed a good deal more about the significance of the crown and how, at His crucifixion, instead of mocking the Christ, it was actually one of His highest honors. So too can it be for each of us as well.

First, Christ went to the cross out of love for us. He went to restore us to full relationship with Father God.

Second, any mockery from the Liar toward Christ that came through His executioners was foiled by God’s love for us and by the truth that indeed Christ is King.

Christ’s Love for Us

Christ – to my way of looking at it – went to the cross entirely out of love for the children of God. It was out of love for all persons that empowered the Christ to say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.” Christ loved even His persecutors, so much so that He forgave them.

The purpose of Christ’s sacrifice was not – first and foremost – to save us from our sins. For me to think so, I would actually be living in a spirit of fear – fear of hell and damnation. If there is anything to fear it would be separation from God. If you know anything about my life story, separation from God was not what I wanted.

Christ’s sacrificial gift is a gift of life. It is a gift of restoration allowing to move us back into deep, personal relationship with God the Father. The sin issue is minor when compared to our full and complete restoration into relationship.

Christ’s example is a love that we know almost nothing of here in this world. We live in an eye for an eye culture that demands vengeance and retribution instead of forgiveness. In our human condition, we prize justice instead of righteousness. I am convinced that most of us don’t even know what justice and righteous actually are. Most of us in this world seem to believe in a resolution of violence, however mild or severe, as if they will solve our problem and make the world a better place. Personally, I’m not convinced that any of us even know what that so-called better place would look like. We’re so profoundly governed by our own self-interests which affect our grasp of these concepts.

Christ as King

In a way, it’s funny how often the Liar tries to mock Christ, God, or the Holy Spirit because he reminds me so much of Wiley Coyote from the Warner Brothers cartoons. Everything that the coyote tries in order to catch the Roadrunner, literally backfires on him. That, of course, is what’s so funny in the cartoon and the unmatched futility of both the coyote and the Liar are what amuses me. Mocking God however is not a laughing matter even for the Liar.

At Jesus’ crucifixion, I’m guessing that the Liar thought that he had won. After all, he was killing the Christ, the very Son of God, whom he knew full well had come to save the world. But as it is stated in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the White Witch had forgotten the deep magic.

So it was that the Liar lead the Roman executioners to mock the Christ with a crown of thorns instead of giving Him the usual gold crown of laurel or oak leaves. Both were traditional in those days.

I firmly believe that Christ wore His crown of thorns joyfully, maybe even with modest pride. That crown spoke truthfully of His Kingship. I’d like to believe that angels by the thousands were singing songs of praise and honor to Him, and perhaps He heard them.

I’ve come to see more in my own Crown of Thorns. For me, my Crown of Thorns is far more than just a wondrous tool that helps me to endure hardship. It is indeed a celebration of my own son-ship as a prince of the heavenly realms – one among billions. My Crown of Thorns reminds me of and reinforces my own identity in Christ, my Lord, and my Brother.

Lew Curtiss is a facilitator and artist with NW Ekklesia. To read more of his story click on the link here; http://nwekklesia.com/artists/lew-curtiss/