Category Archives: art

Clean and whole

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Jesus heals a leper
Pen and ink drawing, c. 1650-1655
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet

So much conspires to tell me I am an outcast in this society: unemployment, chronic headaches, overwhelming fatigue, and the ever-accelerating pace and stress of modern life when what I crave is time—time to go slowly, to rest, listen, and discern God’s will for me.

When I become aware that I am feeling ashamed of who I am, I pray to be reunited with the unconditional love and compassion that is my birthright. The Lord is always willing to touch me and make me whole again.

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

Helped up

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
Christ Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law
pen and wash, circa 1650-1660

Jesus is always at home to those who need healing. He enters our personal space to touch us, make us whole, and help us get back on our feet so that we may continue to use our gifts and talents to serve others.

May I be willing to show up at the Lord’s door to ask for his grace and guidance. May I invite him to enter my mind, heart, and soul.

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John… When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. Mark 1:29, 32-33

At home

With deepest reverence, we recognize each other as a holy home where God’s Holy Spirit—a harmonious presence of love, wisdom, and guidance—dwells.

We live entwined with God’s healing Spirit. We do not fear loneliness.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

Kindness will not be forgotten

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Prophetess Anna in the Temple, 1646 or 1650

May I welcome the new year in holy stillness, with the hope and intention each day to be God’s messenger of love, peace, and kindness.

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. Colossians 3:12-13a

 

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