Tag Archives: God

Artful Worship

14315502_1383328978348505_269235813_o-1The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. ~Vincent Van Gogh

I grew up in a church with plain walls. I counted boards in the arched ceiling that soared over top of us, the only indication that God is grand, majestic and great.

We didn’t display pictures or statues or tapestries. A fear lingered around these items. The fear whispered we might focus on the art and forget who we were there to worship.

Then, around my high school years I think, a member of the church was granted permission to paint a mural over the baptistery. It was a landscape scene of a brook and trees and a sunrise. The brook appears to flow into the baptistery pool. The artist explained the symbolism of the painting, its message that pointed back to the beginning of our Christian birth.

I’m sorry that it took so long for me to discover that art is intended to draw us back to the Creator. My friend, Alison, is a talented photographer. She took the picture at the top of this blog over the summer and posted it on Facebook. I stared in wonder at the stars traveling in their predetermined paths. I marveled at the lights God made that shine so far away, and then cringed at the tiny light that I am, thinking I cast a mighty glow, but in reality I am small, insignificant. I contemplated the people in the house who can’t see the stars because of the house lights. I transferred that thought to all of the false lights that I shine in my life, the ones that blind me from seeing true light. Then I spent thirty minutes looking up scriptures about the stars and God’s power. Her art led me closer to the Creator.

Words are my art form. Words sing to me, they paint beautiful pictures, they dance before my eyes with grace and elegance. I hope my words lead my readers to the original Word, Jesus. I want my art to make the reader stop and meditate on a thought, a scripture, or an event. Other people use music as their art, some speak their art, still others serve their art (as in acts of service). No matter what form the art embodies, great art will always bring us back to God the Father and his son, Jesus the Christ.

God is the original artist and his creation reminds us of him. How are you, his creation, using your art?


. . . since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:19-20 NIV

Still Struggle

cylinderRight now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle. ~ Jackee Harry

I was in the fifth grade, a scrawny girl with french braids and buck teeth. It was Christmas time, and the class party was in full swing. Cookies and candy canes nestled at the bottom of every slanted desktop in the room. Our cups of red Kool-Aid sat precariously at the edge of the faux wood top next to the metal groove that served as a pencil holder.

Each person had a small gift to unwrap, a gift from an anonymous giver who pulled a name from the hat two weeks before. I unwrapped my package to find an odd, corn-paper cylinder.

“Put your fingers in it,” a classmate instructed.

I placed a finger in each end of the red and green braided tube.

“Now pull them out.” Giggles ensued.

I pulled my fingers away from each other and the plaits of paper pulled tighter, holding me prisoner in their grasp. I twisted my fingers. Nothing. I pulled quickly. Nothing. I tugged and yanked trying to wrench my fingers free, but the more I wrestled, the tighter the paper clung to me.

In fear I looked up.

“Relax and pull gently,” she said.

I slowly slid each finger out of the tube.

I stick my fingers in parenting tubes, writing cylinders, and friendship chambers. I pull, twist, tug, and yank. The bonds pull tightly, strangling me in their grip. The harder I try to figure it out, the more desperately I become trapped. I struggle like a child in a Chinese finger trap.


Listening to the Father’s voice, I let go of the struggle, the fear, the prison . . . and I am freed.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:30-32

Living In the Shadow

shadowIt is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful: they are found because it was possible to find them. ~J. Robert Oppenheimer

There is a shadow between black and white. That’s where I live. Sometimes I cross the street to the white side, sometimes I go the other direction to the black. But always I go home to live in the shadow. In the shadow I eat, I sleep, I muse and wonder. I visit the black, and I visit the white to get their opinions, their perspectives . . . but I don’t find answers there.

My answers are questions found in the shadow.

The National Institutes of Health is asking my opinion. They want your opinion, too.

The issue, though, is that I live in the shadow. I don’t actually know my opinion.

The NIH is not currently at liberty to do research using human embryonic cells and animal cells. From what I gather that means they can’t place human cells in animal embryos. On the surface that sounds like a very good idea. We certainly don’t want half-human half-animal creatures running around.

Yet, creating a new species is not the purpose of the research. The purpose of the research is actually quite human and humane. The cells that are placed inside the animal embryo are select cells that grow new organs which can be harvested and transplanted into humans.

Since 1991, the number of people waiting for organs has risen 426 percent, while the number of donors is only up 117 percent.  The research the NIH hopes to conduct could mean that instead of waiting years for an organ, you might wait less than a year . . . the time it takes for your new organ to develop inside the growing animal. In fact, the organ could be made from your own tissue, thereby decreasing the chance of rejection.

When I’m on this side of the street it all looks sunny and bright, but when I go back home and chew on the information I’m back in the shadow. Some of the research may include brain tissue, which could in theory promote cognitive advancement in the animal. Embryonic implantation means that other organs besides the targeted organ can have human cells. The shadow grows.

I know that animal/human research has resulted in new procedures and medications that have improved life for humans. I know that my husband’s family has a propensity for Alzheimer’s/dementia as they age. I would like to see improvements in the care and treatment of those disorders. But the shadow looms, darkens.

There are questions of animal sacrifice, of ethics, of future implications and where to draw lines. There are questions of how to harvest human cells. There are questions about respecting the purpose of death. There are questions, questions, questions.

Thankfully, I don’t live alone in the growing grayness. The black and white streets are inhabited by people who do know, who do understand, who can predict possibilities.

I have not devoted my Christian life to glorifying God through science. But some people have. Good, moral, ethical, brilliant people have given God precedence. They give him respect and honor, and they understand the implications of this research.

Maybe you know people living in the brightness of the black and white streets. Ask them to serve God by helping our government make this decision. Contact the NIH . . . Before September 6 at midnight . . . and let them know your opinion.

May God grant us wisdom.

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away, and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death. Isaiah 57:1-2 NIV