Tag Archives: art

Entrusted with the care of God

John August Swanson

The shepherds went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. Luke 2:16

God entrusted the infant Jesus— Emmanuel, God with us—
to humble human beings
to care for him…
love him…
cherish him.

Today I will remember that each of us has been made by God in love to embody love and carry love with us. Wherever I find God’s human children, may I always hasten to treat them with love and reverence.

Merry Christmas!

Remember me

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Three Crosses
drypoint and burin on paper (III/IV), 1653 Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum

Then [the other criminal] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43

Remember me, Lord.

It’s the beginning of a dialogue with God. It shows I remember God is with me. It shows my belief that God is listening. It shows my trust that I matter to God.

Today I will not forget God is here. I will remember God’s kingdom is right here among us and will look for God wherever I am, in every breath I take, in everyone I encounter. I will let go of worry and fear and remember God is in charge.

Persevere in love

Pannai, Jaffna
Jesus in Sun, 2019

Jesus said, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Luke 21:19

Persevere in kindness. Persevere in faith. Persevere in compassion. Persevere in forgiveness, in letting go of resentment, in rejecting fear. Persevere in trusting God is here, God cares, God is in charge.

Today I will refuse to be terrified by reports of wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, injustice. I will quietly put my energy into loving and helping my neighbors near and far and in trusting the Lord holds us all close to his heart.

Graced by hope

João Cautela Lighting from the Heart, 2011 “With all the lights in the world turning off, I’m hoping the ones in our hearts keep lighting forever..”

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

When I put my hope in God’s enduring presence, when I allow myself to receive God’s love in its many, diverse forms, when I keep God in the center of my life, I am strengthened to live each day with courage and trust in God’s compassion.

Today I will let God’s love heal my sorrowing heart. I know God is with me in every moment and helps me through difficult times of pain and suffering.

Dialogue, not monologue

Dirck van Delen, Church Interior with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14), 1653, Oil on panel. Gift of Asbjorn R. Lunde, 1981. The Clark Art Institute, 1981.63.

[Jesus said,] “The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity…'” Luke 18:11

Prayer is a dialogue with God, not a monologue with myself. In prayer, I speak to God about what is in my heart, confident that God listens without judgment. And I listen to God, confident that God replies with compassion and wisdom. God awakens me to my need to make a change in my life, to offer amends to those I have hurt, to rest when I am tired, to sit with grief, to love myself and my neighbor.

Today I will remember to tell God what is on my mind and in my heart, and then listen for God’s reply.

Raise your heart to the Lord

Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands, 1873

My help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

When I forget Who is in charge, Whose vision is unfolding for our world, Who is the center of my life, I tend to become anxious and discouraged. When I remember God is holding me and everyone else in a loving, compassionate embrace, I can relax and put my energy into enjoying the gift of the moment and helping where I am able.

Today I will remember to continually raise my heart to the Lord in prayer when life’s events threaten to take over my mind and energy.

Thank you, Lord

Codex Aureus Epternacensis
Cleansing of the ten lepers, ca.1035-1040

And one of the lepers, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. Luke 17:15-16

Even if I am not aware of God’s healing presence within and around me, every day brings multiple opportunities to fall at the feet of the Lord in gratitude for my life, the people who love me, the beauty of the natural world, and the many material comforts I enjoy.

Today I will thank God for everything, even the events that seem most difficult to bear.

Pay attention

Hans Leonhard Schäufelein (c.1480–1540)/Adam Petri (1454-1527
The Rich Man in Hell and the Poor Lazarus in Abraham’s Lap, from Das Plenarium
woodcut, 1517

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Abraham replied [to the rich man], ‘Between us and you a great chasm is established.’” Luke 16:26

The great chasm is a lack of awareness. The rich man never noticed Lazarus. He didn’t notice Lazarus’ hunger, illness, pain — he wasn’t aware of his presence at all.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to pay attention to the people we encounter at home, at work, in the community, around the world. We are called to honor the dignity of all people and serve everyone in a respectful manner.

Today I will consciously take notice of the people I encounter. I will offer everyone a kind word and a listening ear.

God in the center

A.N. Mironov (1975-)
Parable of the Unjust Steward‎
Oil on canvas, 2012

[Jesus said,] “‘No one can serve two masters.” Luke 16:13a

Some nights the pain in my joints seems to take over my whole being, and it takes a while to come back to myself and pray for help. It’s times like these that remind me it’s easy for me to remove God from the center of my universe. Social media, my smart phone, a resentment I’m carrying, a task I need to perform, pain… anything can become an idol when I focus my energy and attention on it.

Today I will consciously put God in the center of my life by talking everything over with the Lord. I will remember God is love, compassion, wisdom, and always present to help me in difficult moments.

Not lost

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Return of the Prodigal Son
drawing with pen and brush
between 1626 and 1669
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

[Jesus said,] “‘He was lost and has been found.’” Luke 15:32

I might feel like I’m lost, as if I have no direction, no purpose, no one who needs me… but whether I feel the Presence or not, God is always with me. I am never lost.

Today I will return to awareness, feel my breath, ask for help, and trust God hears, welcomes, and guides me home.