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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Prayer to Revive A Faith Gone Lukewarm.

Sunday, at imagine/Northampton, I gave the second talk in my series Saboteurs of the Heart - 7 Questions: How does Lukewarm Faith Sabotage the Heart From living/ALIVE to God? At the end of the talk, I led us in this short group prayer below. May it be of use to you as you prepare your heart for the joy of Easter:

Father of Wonders beyond my imagining,

I know there have been too many times when I wander through my day as if you are there, but more as a silent companion than an object of my deepest desire.

There are other times because of sin, or distraction, or love of other things, my faith cools, almost as if it’s become a distant memory.

It seems easy for me to live with my faith as if it were a passport rather than a constant love song.

I don’t want it to be that way, but I don’t know how to re-light the fire I once had, or kindle a fire I’ve never had

* * * *

LORD OF CREATION . . .  create a living newness in my faith, even this day.

LORD OF THE EXODUS  . . .  deliver me from everywhere my heart is held captive from you.

LORD OF THE CROSS AND SUFFERING  . . .  heal all my blindness and lukewarm unbelief.

LORD OF THE RESURRECTION . . . awaken my heart that I might live/ALIVE unto you.

LORD OF PENTECOST . . . grant me all I need to do freely all you ask of me as if it were a joy.

ABBA, FATHER . . . enflame my heart so my life of faith might reflect your beauty, goodness and truth to those sleepwalking unaware.

For Christ's glory and my liberty.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Being Near the Art Made By Another.

The imagineART Gallery experience has largely been a pleasurable one for me for two reasons.

The first is the chance to observe or meet folks as they come into our space and look at the work on the walls. I've already written about their response to the fact we're a church doing this at all ( ). But it's also a pleasure to see people gazing at, examining closely, talking about, or simply taking pleasure in the art we've exhibited. Anne Hulley's intricate wall-hangings, and lovingly hand-made books, Catherine Elliott's brightly-colored Impressionist paintings, Joe Don Richardson's curiously evocative black and white photographs, and Brad's life-deep poetry and a Polaroid happening for people who came to Arts Night Out, turn our gray walls into delightful tapestries and windows to the sublime. 

The visceral pleasure of experiencing hanging manifestations of someone else's artistic vision and sensibilities adorning the gray walls of our space is of a quieting sort so far to me, a meditative calmness rich in affect. Each piece of art is a "voice" whispering ineffable realities, which when lived with intentionally, opens us to wonders so exquisite we are made a little more alive. We can briefly peer into transcending Reality with each gaze resting on a painting or a photograph for a moment.

Since September, I have lived near the art made by another. We have all sorts of art hanging on our walls and sitting on tables in our apartment. But being in the amidst the varied works of one artist draws me differently because each piece is the one-of a kind expression of someone's God-given creative gift, exploring and journeying deep into their individual art. They unfold an evolving point of view for you and me to look at and be drawn into. I get to do that each time I come into the gallery and be greeted by what they've made. I can look, examine up close, and think about what each piece means to me. I can respond visceral or make judgments about whether I like or don't like a piece. Each they "wait" in silence for my looking.

Being near the art made by another counteracts for me the stress and weight of life and ministry. It brings me out into an open clearing for a bit where the air is fresh, the sky spreads large, the colors and shapes sparkle intriguingly, and my mood just feels good.

The imagineGallery has been an unexpected blessing overall. The effect of being near the art made by another has been most unexpected - a peaceful grace and quiet delight.