Category Archives: art

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

God’s beloved

The Transfiguration
JESUS MAFA. Transfiguration, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved August 6, 2017].

I wonder, if I listened very hard, if I would hear a holy voice say I am God’s beloved child.

I wonder how it would change me to live with the knowledge that I am God’s beloved child, that we are all God’s beloved children, that God is pleased and delighted by our presence.

From the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” Matthew 17:5b-8

In the net

William H. Rau (1855-1920)
Fishermen by the Sea of Galilee, Palestine
stereograph, gelatin silver, ca.29 December 1903

Today’s net holds a variety of interesting “fish.” I find joy in the beautiful morning. Pain deep in my bones. Ease for the pain in the sun’s warmth. Anxiety about returning to work tomorrow. Comfort in the cat’s purr. Annoyance in the in-and-out demands of another cat. An opportunity to be in touch with my elderly aunt. A message from a friend.

To be in the kingdom of heaven is to choose the fish that feed me and others. It is to make a deliberate effort to discard the fish that weaken my ability to love.

Today I choose to let go of anxiety and annoyance. I choose to be gentle with the pain. I choose to give thanks for the beauty of the world and the people I encounter.

[Jesus said to his disciples,] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.” Matthew 13:47-48