Rest

Take time to breathe. Inhale the natural creation around you, exhale the anxiety the fabricated world implants in your soul. Six seconds in, six seconds out. Take at least one day each week for yourself. Take a walk, a hike, go for a ride, or for a row. Enjoy the people you love, and let there be zero doubt possible they know you love them.

I challenge you to take your rest to the next level as often as you feel necessary – but at least once per year – and make it a day to purge your mind. Here’s how it works. Pick a spot; a hammock by a lake, on the sand by the ocean, at the top of a mountain overlooking the range – anywhere secluded and quiet that brings your soul peace. Take a bag lunch. Sit for 8 hours and just listen. If you practice a spiritual faith, bring your text and read. I bring my Bible when I take a silent Sabbath. If you do this, you will notice around hour 4 that your mind finally quiets down and your thoughts clear. That’s how long it takes our brains to flip through all the thoughts that build up and clutter the file storage of our minds. Our brains are not designed for the constant barrage of ideas, suggestions, regrets and accusations today’s culture relentlessly buries us under. Silent rest is the shovel to dig your way out.

El Shaddai is a Hebrew name that helps us understand the nature of God. But El Shaddai is not a word. Rabbinical scholars that study the original Hebrew deduce that El Shaddai is a compilation of words. IF this arrangement is meant to be a name, it would me “the God who knows when to say enough“. Do you feel your soul release as it breathes out that phrase? “Enough“, like a cry for mercy. “Enough“, like a call for grace. “Enough“, like laying down to rest.

Sit. Breathe. Listen.

You have done enough.

You are enough.

REST.

Drum Circle: A Metaphor

This touches the very place my heart beats.

Adventures in Faith & Art

Recently, I lead a Drum Circle class for beginners, as a part of our annual Art Immersion, a one-week series of arts classes led by New Joy Arts at my church. I’m not a percussionist by training, but I’ve led Drum Circles in the past, and I do know enough to provide rudimentary instruction to novices (while hopefully making it fun!). So this gave me an opportunity to go a little deeper into the techniques and practices of this particular art form.

A Drum Circle is a simple thing. A group of people, typically seated, form a circle, playing hand drums (e.g., congas, djembes, bongos, shakers, tambourines, and other hand percussion). Everyone has a heartbeat, and thus, everyone is a rhythmic being by nature. We are designed by God to create and respond to rhythm. So the Drum Circle is a fundamental—perhaps even primal—means of making music with…

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Restoration is the divine gospel. Art is the evidence.

In the beginning, there was nothing.

This is the process of an artwork I created through the observance of Easter 2019, beginning after sundown on Good Friday and proceeding through Easter Sunday morning.

The earth was tohu vavohu ( without form and void); darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Ruach Elohim (breath of God) was hovering upon the face of the waters. – Genesis 1:2

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God spent a time conceiving and executing a work of creation which formed all we know and experience out of the nothingness. When the work was enough, He viewed the creation and called it tov meod (very good). – Genesis 1:31

טוֹב מְאוֹד – tov meod – very good

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The pinnacle of God’s creation was humanity itself, created in His own tzelem (image). His motivation to create was not to make servants, but to create partners in this creation. Out of the fragility of humanity came brokenness. In our brokenness, we let go of trusting the story God is telling through creation and work tirelessly to write the story ourselves. An artist’s creation does not work to earn its value to the artist, it is valuable because the artist created it. To provide an example of how living internally owning and externally operating out of this integrated value, God created Yehoshua who is called Immanu-El (God with us) – Matthew 1:21-23

For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve – and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

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Once the portrait of Jesus, exhausted and crowned with thorns, was complete, I filled the platter with a pool of lighter fluid. I chose lighter fluid because both the paint and acrylic ink I was about to use resist the liquid without smearing.

As a reference to Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, I used an eye dropper to drip crimson ink into the clear lighter fluid, as if his blood were dripping into the basin of water used to wash the disciples’ feet clean.

“His blood be on us and our children!” – Matthew 27: 25-26

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At this point in the art development, the corporate worship service entered a time of observing communion. After partaking of the bread and recalling how the Christ’s body was broken in sacrifice to restore us, I quietly carried the platter into the light and held it out art arms length over a white drop cloth on stage. The lighter fluid ran down my fingers, carrying the ink with it. The liquid felt smooth and warm, like freshly spilled blood. As gravity pulled it off my fingertips, it left a crimson stain on the bright white drop cloth.
As the warm crimson wept off the polished stoneware surface, the words of Mark 10:45 were recited once again and the breaking of Jesus’s body being an act of serving humanity was emphasized. My eyes passed over the people contained in the shadows beyond, drifting back to ‘tov meod’ and following a drop of red down to the stained white sheet, and my gaze fixed on the raised geometrical shape forcing the sheet’s surface to a different plane. Hidden from the observers’ view was a concrete stepping stone. I held my creation in my hands, with the medium used to create it dripping freely off my fingers, in front of the people who would not hear the message it carried without its sacrifice, staring at the imminent demise I knew was coming. My heart froze and, in my mind, I kept repeating these words, “this is good, this is very good” (not from the context of performance, but to remind myself that what was about to happen MUST be done).
As the words “broken for you” echoed off the solemn walls around us, I let go. The platter fell in a crisp and straight line, then broke the silence as it shattered on the concealed concrete.

I spent the rest of that night’s service collecting the pieces and placing them on my work table. (some chunks were not found until after this photo was taken)

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This was Friday. The artwork lay dormant until the third day dawned.

On Sunday, it awoke.

 

In the late 15th century, a failed effort to repair a broken bowl by its Chinese makers for Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa birthed a style of pottery which became a movement. The Chinese artisans used a staple method to reassemble the broken pieces of the bowl belonging to Yoshimasa. Less than pleased with the results, Japanese craftsman revised this method so that the cracks become filled with a liquid adhesive infused with a precious metal and the cracked defects become lines of gold, silver or platinum. This style is known today as Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi (golden repair). The addition of the precious metal effectively increases the value of the pottery, which is traditionally used for chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony).

At the start of our Easter morning worship services, I began reassembling the jagged shards of the platter in the Kintsugi style with gold-infused epoxy. The process took through both of our services that morning to complete, but all the pieces came together and restored the platter to its original form, just as the completion of the Christ’s sacrifice for humanity restored us with our Creator.

 

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Nishlam! (It is fininshed!) – John 19:30

 

Defraction

Partner in the Gospel 1
Philippians 1

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Philippians 1:29‭-‬30

Physical light is comprised of every possible wavelength of light. When minds perceive color, it is the wavelength which strikes our eyes that determines what color our brains assign.
When all wavelengths are present, white is the color we see. Black is the absence of light wavelengths. It is very rare for true white and true black actually exist. White only exists in the presence of 100% light. The only place you can experience real black is in 100% absence of light; deep in a cave where no light can penetrate. Prisms refract light to expose it’s spectrums, which is how rainbows come to exist.

Today’s drawing is meant to be read like an English book, left to right. The divided wavelengths converge into the prism. They assemble together inside, and exit as a beam of (almost) white light that pierces the darkness. “Engaging in the same conflict…..”