Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Posts tagged “Sacrifice

Table of Making: My Prophetic Scroll

Peter by Rembrandt

Peter Denies Christ – Rembrandt

I am remembering a recent spiritual encounter. I was on a journey in the spirit. I don’t recall where it was I went, but in this vision, I received my Book of Destiny from Father God. What I received was an infinitely long scroll, a large and wide one. When it was given to me, it unrolled off into the distant heavens. On that scroll I saw dozens of images which I perceived to be the artworks that Father and I would be making in the forever more. Suddenly those images rose up off the face of the scroll and began a storm of pictures flying round me. It was as if I was in a gentle tornado of art encircling me. The images slowed and finally stopped. They just hung there in space. At the bottom of each image embers began to form and to slowly consume the artworks, right up to the top. The images vanished each in a beautiful glowing line of embers. Then I saw a fragrant smoke rising up from the artworks, rising above me to Father God. I suddenly knew what this vision meant. Father was speaking to me, spirit to spirit, while I was in that vision.

The scroll, instead of a book, was a sign of an eternal journey. Father and I will now be on an eternal journey of creativity. The images, of course, are the art that He and I will birth and release unto the world, and quite probably the heavens. The rising of the images from the face of the scroll represents their release. Once completed, they are released unto Father, and unto the world. Their burning was a deep reminder that the art, in the end, is a gift of sacrifice to Father.

Just as Bezalel, Oholiab and the other Charashim (artisans) completed their work, they quickly disappear from God’s word to be forgotten. There is a very good reason for this. The work wasn’t about Bezalel. It was about the people’s relationship to and worship of Father God. At God’s command, Bezalel was chosen, filled with the Holy Spirit, and created a body of work comprised of Heaven on Earth, just for Father God.  We know it as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

So too am I to be forgotten by men, but not by Father. You see, it is Father God who is to be seen, praised, and worshiped through the art, not the artist. My artmaking is not for my personal fame and fortune. It is not about me at all. This art Father and I make together is all about Him and the relationships He wants to establish in the lives of those who will encounter that art. It’s as if His Spirit speaks to those who engage the work. It’s as if the work is somehow a window into something Father wants to share with us as individuals, a personal message from Him.

I do this work because I love Father. I love our relationship. What I do, who I am, what I become is all a gift from Father. Those gifts are then returned to Him with interest. I am one to whom much has been given and from whom much is required. There is nothing I can be offered in its place that I would value more.

I will always remember that vision. I will always ruminate upon its elemental, relational significance. I savor it because my Lover has chosen me, has honored me to become one of His Bezalel artists, one of His Charashim. I am one who dwells in His Divine Presence 24/7. As one of His believer/tabernacles, as all believers are, I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I have a hard-wired spiritual connection with Him and together we co-create in that Mystic Union to give birth to art.


Needing Him in All Things

Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. (Luke 14:26 TEV)

Lew CurtissI little while back I had a tremendous sense of falling in love with God. It was a sense I have never experienced before about God. It’s so deep and powerful that I actually love God more than any human being in the world. I love God more than even my bride, His gift to me.

The best definition of love I’ve yet come across goes something like this; Love is all-ways an act of self sacrifice. Love is all-ways wanting the best for the other person. The first part, the part about self-sacrifice is difficult because it’s the cornerstone of our faith in God; the willingness to let God have anything, anytime, anywhere. Even now, in as much as I love Him with “all” of my being, I know that I cannot simply because I don’t know what that really means, and I’m a sinful human being. I don’t really know what sacrifices God will ask of me to His glory. What I do know is that He loves me back; so much so that He climbed up on the cross at Golgotha and bled and suffocated to death – for me.

How much less can I give for Him? And yet, while I’m unafraid of the fact of death, I’m hesitant about the act of death, or any other major sacrifice He asks of me. So in this context of loving Him first and foremost, even in this, I must seek His help for strength and willingness to follow through.

In fact, I’m so lame (human & weak) that I need God to help me through any work I do for Him. I need Him to help me in my deficiencies in every single aspect of my life; marriage, art/work, church, parenting, neighboring, friendship, and life’s not so friendly encounters. I need God’s strength, direction, and guidance in every single milli-moment of my existence, of my efforts, of whatever & everything. I have very little strength of my own to bring to the relationship.

I have an utter, total, complete, desperate need for God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On my own no-thing, no-effort, no-intention of any kind is sufficient to the moment. All I can actually bring to the relationship is my utter need, what love I have, and a willingness to be lovingly used to His glory.

In fact, none of what I’ve just written even, is from my own mind. It’s a bit of me and a total Holy Spirit realization. This is not a futile effort to fool or patronize God either. He can see right through that. This is the truth. Even this realization, which I praise & thank Him for, is, in and of itself, a gift from God. In short, no matter what I think I’m “sacrificing” to God it’s nothing to what He has already given on my behalf. My “gift” is nothing compared to His plans for my life; nothing compared to His provision for my life, nothing compared to His intentions for me in relationship with Him. I’m completely and totally clueless. It’s like trying to get the magnitude of the universe into my head. It hurts.

When I talk about loving God, giving to God, living for God, I just don’t get it, and I’m a fool if I think I can out-bid Him in the gift game. Making deals with God simply doesn’t happen. He’s already got “all the chips”.

Still I love the Lord my God with all I am and even that is in need of daily help from Him. And perhaps, for now, that’s enough simply because it’s more an attitude of the heart than a material “gift” I offer Him. Maybe it’s more my willingness to give my all to His glory than any thing else.

Scripture is filled with stories, of one person after another giving all that they have, all that they are, their very lives, for the glory of God. In every circumstance, God tells us how glad He is for our mere willingness to give.

We’re called to give every single thing of our lives to Him in love, willingly. He makes up for all of the short-comings and deficiencies of the transaction. In the end, unlimited willingness may perhaps be the one and only gift we actually do have for Him.