Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eden's dream....

I took this picture on my way down to Portland from the car window. I love the covenantal truths and just plain artistic wonder of rainbows. They are glimpses of God's flamboyant extravagance and unabashed love of beauty. How they are found only in or after moments of darkness, gloom or dreariness or on the heals of heat drenching rains that quench the ground and douse August foreheads is so very motherly of God.

Nature is sacramental to me. He reveals Himself in and through it...or as Paul put it: "...since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made...-Romans 1:20

I think we can draw wisdom from His creative ways in the Earth and use those values to reconnect our communities and churches back to creation values that restore, replenish and rejuvenate. We can creatively work to surround ourselves with ways of living and being that produce "sabbath" moments. In hectic cities, there need to be not only parks and green spots but sacred places that provide truth, contemplation and prayerful opportunities...."public monasteries" if you will.

I plan on continuing the goals of incorporating the artistic work of faith into our church block, garden and buildings. The missional and artistic influence of my Celtic, Orthodox and Catholic brothers have taught me to value nature, sculpture and beauty as a work of creating sanctuary. A garden is an experience of grace in itself but there are additional ways to incorporate contemplative aspects into space. I always enjoyed the Catholic gardens, monastery and chapels at my favorite place in Portland OR...The Grotto...their gardens, plants, sculptures, ponds and prayer spots, were a sooting place of reprieve in various moments of my young adult life. I would go there, walk, pray, draw, write or just breath and leave feeling more whole, or at least more gathered.

I think the Church as an expression of the Kingdom of God; should outwork in a visible way, tangible opportunities to encounter biblical truths. We can do this by providing invitational and experiential opportunities to encounter the blessings of the Kingdom...art, sculpture, music, space, architecture, food, gardens, writing and design can all facilitate or spark such moments. Peace, joy, love, depth, meaning, wonder, mystery, passion, wisdom, time, eternity, culture and sounds are all material to work with. They are universal languages to be used in communicating with the people God has called us to care for and influence.

Gardens can become that kind of sanctuary by providing peaceful meditative spots, enjoyment of beauty as a sacramental experience and food as a gift of pleasure. They are healing gifts that a local community of faith can incorporate in its work of caring for the space God has called them to live and worship within and around.

All these actions are part of the Domestic Arts and too many people have been ignorant of their powerful means to introduce people to the Kingdom and then to the King of such a glorious place. Such should be the process of one standing in the beauty of this natural world...it should lead one from the creation...to the Creator.
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