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Archive for the tag “Faith”

Dear You,

It’s been a long week. Stressful and trying in many ways, but it was, as so often happens, educational nonetheless.

The week (Sunday the 18th) started with an encounter with a woman named Bess. She’s homeless and working her way back to a state of solidarity. I talked with her awhile that day and we discussed God, and how these events teach us to know God and trust God, and realize the transience of this world. From here, the week rotted. It was busy at work, stressful all around, I’ve lost my patience on a few occasions and failed a time or ten. But, as they say, it works out in the end.

Now, in the quiet aftermath, I’ve had time to better digest these events and I’m left with this image: a figure, who is me but not me, hanging on a cross, while I look on with scars on my arms.

If this were a story, Bess’s conversation would be the foreshadowing; the week of conflict the journey; and the final image a resolution. Bess’s conversation points to God, as though to say “Listen, you are about to endure some things which will cause you grief, but will also temper you and your faith.”

The conflict acts as a microcosm of how it is to live in sin (which is to live for oneself and not for God). Because living a life of the self, by the self, for the self, leads only to malcontentment.

And the image of the cross is the completed idea that the old self is dead, and we have been resurrected with Christ- bearing the marks of our crucifixion and our old life, not as marks of condemnation, but as testimony to our transformation with and through Christ.

But this is the ongoing process- we learn by seeking God in all things, both good and bad, that we learn to pray (which is to turn our thoughts to God and speak to a friend). We learn to pray in triumph, in failure, in peace, in war, in calm, in chaos- in all times, at all times, praying to know God and seek The Kingdom, praising God that we may bless the world; all sinners and saints, friends and enemies.

It’s Ephesians, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” (Ephesians 2:1-5 )

And you know, as is usually the case, all these sequences are just a reminder of what has been said and resaid: I am a sinner in need of help, full of flaws and imperfections. I cannot save myself with 10’000 good deeds or by any act of piety. I am saved by grace.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galations 2:19-21 )

I hope things are well with you,

Your Friend,

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After Awhile

After a while we begin to learn that life is more than molecules

And we learn that science is not salvation

And faith is not ignorance

We begin to learn that bias is human

and that no one sees with objectivity

We begin to learn that life is governed by six billion perspectives,

Each struggling to stand on some common ground

And we begin to learn that no space permits two people

We learn that a standing point cannot be shared

And we learn we really are alone and unique

And we learn to accept our losses as well as our gains

And we learn- and we learn

We learn that wisdom is no safeguard from foolishness

And fate is unused to making plans

And we learn to build on today because the future is insecure in itself

We learn to face our defeats with patience and our triumphs with grace

And we learn to smile through our broken hearts

And after awhile, we learn to live

Faith Can Heal All Wounds

There was once a man who became grievously ill. He was not an old man, nor was he altogether young. Thinking of his fate and his illness, he began to pray and devote his life to God.

Daily he’d pray and he’d attend every church service, he sold his belongings and gave to the poor and he’d pray, “I am ill, save me lord. Heal me.”

Friends he’d known most of his life saw the changes in his life, and they encouraged and told him of doctors and hospitals but the ill man said “God will heal me.” And he’d leave his friend and go pray.

Slowly, his illness grew worse and one day a friend of his came into his house with wonderful news: medical scientists had found an exact cure for his illness! Alas, the man had died and was already before the throne of God, confused and frustrated.

“Lord!” said the man, and he wept as he realized that he had died, “Lord!” he said, “I prayed, I served you and yet I died! Why didn’t you heal me?”

And the Lord, a figure which shone so bright the man could see no features, spoke and said.

“I sent your friends to tell you of medicine. I sent you doctors and counselors who serve me as well, that you may have gone to them and spoke with them that your faith would have deepened. Instead, you secluded yourself and prayed selfishly with a conceited heart, denying your friends and fellow humans opportunity to do kindness.”

The man was silent in heaven, while his body was buried below.

I’ll Live A While Longer

I guess I’ll live a while longer
Knowing that I will grow stronger
Nothing is the greatest bliss
Offer me not a good night kiss
Would you suffer with him now
Nettles, briars on your brow
Or would you go to hills and hide
Taking with you foolish pride
Turn back turn back and go to him
He’ll forgive you of your sin
Embrace you in his loving arms
And let you start again
Now nothing lingers of that life
Sorrow sins and woe and strife
Were washed away by Him
Erased and forgiven by His
Resurrection after death

Saints and Effigies

Saints and Effigies,” is a collection of pictures composed of three effigies:  a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus,  a wooden owl, and a pink ‘magic eight ball’ Jesus. The ‘Mother Mary’ series were taken in December of 2012 at my grandparents house and is a photo representation of Faith as it endures sickness. Mother Mary I is the young faith, and self-assurance of new belief, then Mother Mary II and III introduce doubt, sickness, and strife in the form of the various pill bottles, leading to Mother Mary IV which is the faith darkened, though matured, from the previous turmoil.

This then leads to Owl I and II, which is a wooden effigy pictured with gold and pewter in the background. The owl itself “is the symbol ofthe feminine, the moon and the night.The owl is the bird of magic and darkness, of prophecy and wisdom.” (Lin’s Domain) while the gold and pewter represent the different pure and tainted qualities of the soul. The Owl, then acts as a physical search for renewed faith leading to the ‘resurrection’ of faith with Pink Jesus I.

The journey of faith concludes with Pink Jesus IV as the manifestation of a more real faith, which understands that grasping the True character of the infinite God is beyond the capacity of the finite Creation. The faith is, however, not as one might expect because not only is Jesus pink, but also plastic and static describing the individuality of faith and understanding, and also the dangers of ascribing finite features to an infinite spiritual entity.

(Author’s Note: Pink Jesus first appeared in an article written for my school blog and newspaper which can be found at Judah LoVato’s Blog on the Rocky Mountain College website)

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