Category Archives: art

Nothing to prove

Sieger Köder (1925-2015)
Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet
“The greatest among you must be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

When I am grounded in love and compassion, kindness and patience, hope and humility, I have no need to perform for others to see. I can participate fully in life just as I am—frail, tired, encouraging, interested, sorrowing, accepting.

I have nothing to prove. I am a precious child of God.

[Jesus said,] “All their works are performed to be seen.” Matthew 23:5a

Pay it forward

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le denier de César
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Love. Compassion. Kindness. Mercy. Forgiveness. Welcome. Comfort. Peace.

These belong to God. May I repay them to God by extending them to everyone I encounter.

[Jesus said to them,] “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Matthew 22: 21

Nonviolence

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le fils de la vigne
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Negativity. Pessimism. Put-downs. Sarcasm. Hostility. These are forms of violence that tackle me daily in the news, on the Internet, at the workplace, and sometimes from my own attitudes and behaviors.

My defense against the darkness of violence is to put my thoughts on God’s boundless love and wisdom, and to practice bringing the light of gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to every circumstance in which I find myself.

Thank you, Lord, for being with me right now, in this moment. Help me to walk in the light of your love. Show me how to be a nonviolent presence in our troubled world.

Finally, sisters and brothers,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things. Phillipians 4:8

Worthy

Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
11th c.
Byzantine gospel. Paris, National Library

God surrounds, fills, and blesses each human person with the same abundant love, compassion, and comfort. We don’t have to prove our worth to God. Whenever we show up for God, God is already there with a warm welcome.

Today I will make God’s boundless, unbiased love apparent by treating everyone I encounter with respect and kindness.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

 

As often as infinity

Josefina de Vasconcellos (1904-2005)
Reconciliation

If I want to follow Jesus, then I must be compassion. I must be forgiveness. I must be love.

And when I fail, I must find the heart and discipline to start again. It’s not a competition. There is no endpoint. It is the Way.

Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord? Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins? Sirach 28:2-4

 

Great is your faith

Unknown maker, Rembrandt Pupil, active 1650s
Christ and the Canaanite Woman, 1650
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, corrected with white gouache
J. Paul Getty Museum

Every day I have choices to make. I look to the Scriptures to decide what is right and just:
Love my neighbors, love my enemies.
Pray for those who persecute me.
Forgive those who hurt me.
Welcome strangers.
Feed the hungry.
Give shelter to the homeless.

Thus says the LORD: Observe what is right, do what is just. Isaiah 56:1a

 

Save me

Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
Jesus Walks on the Sea
between 1866 and 1870

When the winds of pain, stress, and anxiety blow strong, I tend to lose sight of love and goodness and sink into despair.

Today I will take time alone to pray. I will entrust my troubles to the Lord, and accept the healing of the Lord’s eternal patience, compassion, and presence.

[Jesus] went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Matthew 14:23