Super User

Super User

I love to watch birds soaring and flying.  The flocks that fly seemingly on cue from tree to tree, lifting off as one and looping together in choreographed turns and swirls make me laugh and smile. The grace of the egret as it unfurls its wings to take off is beautiful. Pelicans flapping in rhythm with their strong wings over the waves make me feel like I am surfing with them.  three geese landingGeese flying and calling, announce to all the turn of seasons.  The majestic eagle and hawk as they soar – I feel the freedom and peace of their stillness as they ride the wind hardly moving their wings.

Can you picture them? Do you watch them?

This summer, I started this painting of three geese coming in for a landing. And, as I was sitting at home looking at it, I saw on the wall above it four other paintings of “flight.”  My fascination with flight has stretched over many years.

In my youth I learned to play a song by John Denver that I still enjoy playing on the guitar.  It captures the essence of the Eagle and the Hawk.  It speaks of freedom of flight and dancing with the wind and being all that we can be. My heart wants to soar too. Add to that one of my favorite scripture passages: Isaiah 40:31. Do you know it?

but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

In John Denver’s song I heard God whispering to me of dancing on the wind like the birds, to be all that I can be as I wait on him and trust in his strength.

Since verse 31 in Isaiah begins with “but,” I looked at the verse in context to see what came before it:

Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint. (Is 40:27-31)

God doesn’t grow faint and weary. People grow faint and weary - even youth, but if they hold on to God, wait for him, he will renew their strength and like an eagle they will fly again.

 A few years ago, I wrote about this (read more) so I thought I would do a Cinquain or three in response today.

We did cinquains as a response exercise at the June, Art Vocabulary for the Soul retreat. It is a simple 5 line poem with a pattern. First line: 2 syllables, second line 4 syllables, third line 6 syllables, fourth line 8 syllables, 5th line 2 syllables.

OR 2 words, 4 words, 6 words, 8 words, 2 words. I did the syllable version.

Strong wings
riding airwaves
beautiful, majestic
lifting, soaring, turning, gliding
eagle

Flying
trusting in God
riding the air currents
soaring, lifting, gliding, landing
my flight

My flight
with wings like eagles
riding the air currents
trusting, believing, waiting, receiving
soaring

152eagle fish250w362egrt lndng 284wkite boarder

Write your own cinquain in response.

Next Art vocabulary for the Soul Retreat Nov 1-3 at Covenant Bay on Pigeon Lake.

Jade GriffenWe were in Victoria over Easter visiting with our grandchildren and their parents. On Easter morning, we rose early. As the dawn began to lighten the sky, my own anticipation grew within me.  My heart welling up in joy. Christ is risen, Indeed! I love the song I first heard Sandi Patti sing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb1ayV5sTtM

Was it a morning like this?
When the sun still hid from Jerusalem,
And Mary rose from her bed
to tend the Lord she thought was dead…

Did the grass sing?
Did the earth rejoice to feel You again?

Over and over like a trumpet underground
Did the earth seem to pound, "He is risen!"
Over and over in a never-ending round
"He is risen, hallelujah, hallelujah!"

EasterService350wI sang most of the way on the 20-minute drive to the beach where several congregations gathered to share in greeting the sunrise with an Easter service of singing, praising God. It was a beautiful morning the clouds were a blushing rose hue. The Cascades across the Strait of Juan de Fuca were clear and bathed in pale pink. And as we sang the sun broke over the hills. Glorious!

The week before Easter, I reworked the painting: A New Covenant for a Painting Prayers session for Lent for a women’s group. I was never quite satisfied with the part of the painting where the light was exploding out of the Holy of Holies “as the curtain was torn from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51), so I fixed it. This moment in time is a glorious event - The curtain that separated us from the Holy of Holies, God’s presence, was torn as Jesus breathed his last. It signifies a New Covenant that the old testament passage in Jeremiah refers to:

Holy of Hollies31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

We can be known and loved by the God of the universe. He will write it on our hearts, we can belong to him, know him. “I will be their God and they shall be my people.”  My heart sings glory and rejoices as it did on Easter morning.

Art is a work in progress. Is a painting ever finished? Maybe for a time. I put it in a mat, or get it framed and hang it on my wall, and I let it speak to me. I see things I didn’t before. I see connections, stories. And I sometimes see ways to repaint it, or ways to take it further to a new idea, or to improve it. Often, my paintings are my “windows to God.” Moments that I hear God speak to me in metaphor. I have shared some of that to you through my blogs and newsletters and in my book. Sometimes the same painting can speak to me differently than it did before. I may be done painting it, but the process continues with each person the painting connects with, like a story, that lives on with the retelling, with every person that it engages.

Like paintings, we are also works in progress.

Over the past few weeks, I have been stewing about scripture to select for the upcoming Art, Vocabulary of the Soul Retreat. It has been a slow process. As I think back over the last few years and every time, it usually is a slow process. I read the Bible and I listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, I wait some more. I talk to others and come back to it. I listen to the stories of some of the participants coming and I wait some more for the nudging of the Holy Spirit. I am waiting for the peace that comes when it is altogether.

As I wait there is a battle going on inside of me, with my inner critics vociferously taking in my head. What if I get it wrong? What if I can not choose something that goes together? What if everyone hates it? What if I fail to listen when God has nudged me? I don’t want to wait, and listen. I want it solved and ready. It all feels a bit like crashing waves, violent and powerful battering the peace I desire.

Paul writes in Romans 8:1 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…"

These are valid fears and feelings. It is my ego, or as Paul talks about it in Romans, my flesh, that condemns me. It condemns, because when I am relying on my self I cannot live up to the ego’s standards. But praise be to God there is another perspective. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The way past the inner critics is to acknowledge the fears and then turn the perspective. This isn’t about me.

Later in Romans 8, Paul wrote in verses 15-16, "the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children."238wild bty word1000w

I am God’s daughter; I belong to him. In that perspective I can look past myself and see. Who is God gathering together, and what does He want to do for the weekend? Even if this is not always easy to do, to let go and trust the process. As I trust the process, I am turning myself over to God, and trusting my Father. I am trusting that he will meet me here as I prepare, that the people he wants to be there will be, and that he will meet with each person coming. Trusting the process is letting God lead me as slowly as he chooses to, and not racing ahead on my own. After all, is it slow because I get in the way?

For all of that I am excited for the retreat, I look forward to seeing what God will do in each person there. God has shown this time after time that He does meet each person there and amazing things happen every time. I look forward to seeing what he will do this time.

Our numbers for the retreat are complete. The scripture is selected and I can now get excited for the retreat. Please partner with us in prayer: as we each prepare our hearts to hear what God has in store for us and as we participate in the weekend – June 24-26.

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