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

img_20190419_171320

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

img_20190419_185307

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

img_20190419_195041

 

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

img_20190419_195434

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)

img_20190419_205000

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.

 

img_20190421_120158

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…..”

Love Never Fails

Love Above All 3
1 Corinthians 3:13

Hebrew is one if the most beautiful written languages. I have been working through a podcast that digs deeper into the original Hebrew text of the Bible and it’s root meanings, so I was feeling Hebraic today!

After translating all the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 3, I used the characters of the word ALWAYS and engraved them into bricks. The commitment of ‘Always’ is the foundation of love. The mortar that holds our always is agape.

Love never fails.

Ready…..set….LOVE

I had not planned on sharing my drawing from today, but God has a way of arranging things.

We began a new sermon series at Journey today, Love Above All (Valentine’s themed). I was behind the drum kit this morning, which usually means more time to draw, from having two rounds of the sermon during which to draw. This morning was a bit different. We began taking advantage of the first service to have a small group Bible study discussion as the worship team, second service included a housekeeping conversation inspired by a budget meeting from the previous week. Following the pastor’s sermon outline for our discussion, this image of a blooming rose stayed in the front of my mind.

The message was an overview of love, what is love, how does God view love and how do we live a life of love as God designed? Jesus was once asked, what is the greatest of all the commandments? His answer, as all of his replies, was perfectly executed:

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘ hear , O israel ! the Lord our God is one Lord ; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind, and with all your strength .’ The second is this, ‘ you shall love your neighbor as yourself .’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29‭-‬31 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/mrk.12.29-31.NASB

We often read this as a bullet point list, but this could not be more wrong. Jesus is affirming the old law, the Shema, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and your mind.” Then He takes it a step further. Those raised in traditional Jewish homes in this time period were familiar with the Shema being written on a piece of paper and placed in a small box, then tied to their foreheads as an outward expression of their devotion to the Lord. Jesus is plainly stating this is not how to show love to God. “The second is this, love your neighbor as yourself…” Directly tied to the greatest commandment are brief but direct instructions on what loving God looks like. Our love for God is expressed most clearly in our love for each other.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jhn.13.35.ESV

The rose is an encouragement to bloom. Grow where you’re planted and let your true colors shine. The thorns on the stem are references that loving openly is not always comfortable or easy.

I started out confessing that I did not intend to share this drawing. A not so coincidential encounter this afternoon changed my mind.

My oldest son served with me at Journey this morning. It was youth Sunday, he signed up to help out with the tech team. After service, he suggested we go play some Pokemon Go downtown. It was a warm day in central North Carolina, so off we went. The public library is one of the Pokemon hot spots. We parked and began walking past the fountain and up to a sculpture on the library grounds. As we walked, a young woman was walking toward us from the other side of the building. She seemed to hug the building, as if she were trying to hide her presence and avoid attracting our attention. We were about twenty feet from her when her eyes met mine. She immediately spoke in the loudest voice she could muster without bursting into tears “I’m waiting for my ride, is it ok if I wait here?” I am not a representative of the city, but I cannot imagine any public employee having an issue with her request, so I replied that it was quite alright. Noah and I kept walking. The young woman spoke again, “I just left the hospital. I lost my baby.”

I froze in my tracks. Eight years ago, my sister lost a child hours after he was born. In the last year, a family very close to me buried the newest member of their family after a few short months of life. I looked at my son, looked back at this young woman who was now seated against the library and sobbing, then motioned to Noah, “let’s go talk to her.” Noah nodded in agreement.

As we approached this young woman, I observed physical attributes indicative of drug abuse. I asked if it was ok for us to come closer, she nodded through her tears. I began sharing with her my sympathy and my experience with death too early, but confessed that no one can truly know what her heart is experiencing but her. She proceeded to confess how she does not believe she is worthy of the love of God because she has lived a life wrought with pain no human being should experience. Many of her life experiences have been direct attacks on her self worth. A childhood of unimaginable abuse, being thrust into a life of adulthood at 17, then losing custody of her son (now 8) after some very poor life choices, losing her career to the consequences of earlier life decisions, now losing the young life she was viewing as a second chance to contribute something positive into life only a couple of weeks after listening to their young heart beating. Noah and I say with her and listened, we shared our experience of God’s love and ways He has moved to bring light I to our darkness, to me through my seizures, to Noah through his conversation experience and recent Baptism.

Then it struck me. This is why I drew a rose. This young woman and her baby are the reason. I asked her to wait a moment, I had something for her. I jogged back to my van, opened my sketch book to this drawing, snapped a quick photo and carefully removed the page along the perforated seam. The tears began welling up in this young woman’s eyes again as I walked closer with the drawing on hand. I handed her the image, and explained what I just confessed to you. I didn’t know why I was drawing this image as the pencil was moving, but now I understand. This rose was for her, this rose was for her child. She has lived a life navigating through thorns, but God still wants to watch her bloom.

Noah and I moved on in our Pokemon quest. Walking back to our vehicle, we could see this young woman had moved to the large fountain and was waiting on the fountain wall for her ride. I stopped and asked if we could get anything for her. She thought a moment and said she would really like a bottle of water and maybe a bag of chips. She adamantly insisted that she does not like receiving charity and wanted to pay for the water, then pulled three dollars out of her back pocket and handed it to me (what I perceived as being g all she had). Noah and I drove to Walgreens, about half a mile away, we purchased her a coconut water drink with antioxidants, a bag of cheese chips Noah likes and a bag of trail mix with probiotic heavy ingredients. I threw her three dollars back in the bag with the snacks. We drove back to the library, where the young lady still waited at the fountain, and Noah handed her the bag through the van window. As we pulled into the street, I saw her look into the bag, shake her head and smile. I saw her waving in my mirror as I slowly drove away, I saw her waving to us. I could hear her voice, but couldn’t understand her words. That didn’t matter, because I could read her lips….”Thank you! Good bless you!”

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. And second unto this, love your neighbor as yourself. By this, people will know you are My disciples.

I ask each one who reads these words, please remember Delana (De-lay-na) in your prayers.