Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume V, Issue XXI
"The true great works are rooted in love and born in prayer" -- Unknown
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." -- Galations 5:22,23
A Great Work... Ushering in the World to Come
Who among us has not at some point imagined themselves involved in some great work? We love the stories of triumph and bravery and wonder if it might be our lot to ever be part of such a tale? So-called 'Realism' raises a hand at this point and argues that most men live in obscurity and live lives that are insignificant. Yet the belief that significance is something to be desired presses the possibility of it being attained. Travelling to Bolivia last year, I sensed there were a thousand stories in search of a Hemingway.
I saw an amazing medical mission that grew out of one woman's loving heart. She herself survived breast cancer and when most people would have started savoring retirement, this soft-spoken RN was G-d's instrument to bring decent medical care to the poorest people in Santa Cruz and now Sucre. (Her SECOND clinic just opened in February)! Cindy Thacker is doing a great work, as are the comitted staff of Mission of Hope Bolivia. It was a priviledge to hear their stories and by our work there to contribute to them.[1.]
In a South American slum there is a man who creates orchestra instruments from trash! 'Landfill Harmonic' brings beautiful music to young people who would otherwise know only the sound of despair. [2.] Redemption! all the great stories tell of it. Is it a false hope?, or something that the great stories hold out to us because its realization could be nearer than we dare imagine?If we can imagine something, is it possible that that ability to imagine is rooted in sound reasons?
These are the stories the media rarely report to us. One hears so much about the dysfunction in our world... and it is real. Yet, quiet your heart. You will find amazing stories around you. You might even find yourself a part of one! Great works abound in our own back yard. How shall we find them... be still, watch and listen!
Watching Kristina Elaine Riley paint her latest mural depicting "Acts of Kindness Rooted in Love," it was clear that she was engaged in a great work. [3.] The painting she is completing with elementary and middle school children in the Farrier Court Community center carries a redemptive message. Indeed, it could be seen as an extension of her "Journey to Jesus," [4.] where she took ordinary children's photographs, often in places of great hardship, and painted them as princes and princesses of the New Heaven and the New Earth spoken of in Isaiah 60, Isaiah 61 [5.] and Revelation 21 [6.]
Audio Aredrenalin's "Kings and Queens" echos that message [7.] To love "the least of these" is to make kings and queens in G-d's Kingdom. Empowering children to be noble by rooting themselves in love... an unseen foundation upon which to build a noble edifice!
Hebrews 11 talks of Faith: "The evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen," and tells of Abraham, who wandered and lived all of his life in tents, longing for "that city who's architect and builder is G-d!" Those who share in the hope that Abraham had have a stake in the greatest of works... joining G-d in building His Kingdom!
Nehemiah engaged himself in a great work... rebuilding the walled city of Jerusalem. Just as he became a man of singular purpose, we too should consider the ruined state of our own culture and "arise and build!" A study of Nehemiah's life reveals that he didn't begin by sorting stones or drawing plans, he PRAYED. Scripture is clear that he began by seeking G-d and the mighty work sprang from that prayer [8.]
In the Nineteenth Century, Evangelist George Müller was moved by the plight of unwanted children. He prayed. Without asking for a penny, he saw G-d provide the means to care for thousands of children and build fine homes for them to live in [9.]
In a world of chaos, we seek order, beauty and truth. These things will elude us if we do not seek the AUTHOR of order, beauty and truth. Great works do not just happen, they spring from the hand and mind of purposeful authorship. If purposeful authorship is evident in Creation, then it behooves us to seek to learn from the Author of purpose.
Pastor Chuck Balsamo of Destiny Fellowship in Stuarts Draft invites all who would to join in a time of Prayer, Fasting and Worship [click to read]. The purpose, not unlike Nehemiah's, is to seek G-d in a world where order, beauty and truth are all too rare.
My point in writing this is that G-d has a great work and the promise is clear. The murky uncertainty of our post-modern world is all too evident and threatens to obscure OUR view of that purpose. If we as a people will come away to seek His face, we will find ourselves in the very presence of G-d. Perhaps it is time to stop saturating ourselves in the news and MAKE news... led by the same fire that "turned the world upside down" in the First Century [10.]
That is key. This is not about growing bigger churches or merely creating a moral superiority, or economic prosperity, it is about unleashing the power of G-d's Holy Spirit to build G-d's Holy Kingdom! How does one describe the Kingdom of G-d and His promised presence there? It is like describing a mountain vista to a blind man. Where do you begin? Yet this is a picture that I as an artist feel compelled to paint! Mankind needs this vision. How does one begin to paint it?
Does one start by descriptions rooted in the scents of seasons... the smell of leaves and lavendar, the deep smell of Earth beneath the firs? One CAN deduce from what one CAN percieve that there is more unseen. That is the artist's mission. Just as a visual artist creates depth with line and shadow and aerial perspective, we can point to that which is beyond our ability to literally render.
Can we "see" the promise, pushing onward. and offer relationship with G-d Himself to a world of lonely and injured pilgrims? Can we join together as G-d seeks to rebuild lives and bring His Kingdom to Earth? Can we see that G-d is at work, purposefully authoring the promised Kingdom? In the combined sense of PEACE and PURPOSE found in communion with the Divine, might we have a part in ushering in the World to Come?