students, volunteers, and artists!
Thank you to all visitors, creatives, writers, singers,
students, volunteers, and artists!
I know what you're thinking! What are these church going artist's thinking of planning an art show in the middle of a pandemic? And...and we've just moved into category "ORANGE"! Lots of people already think artists are crazy, well here is proof that they might just really and truly be completely bonkers! And here's the evidence!!
Wedding venues are being cancelled!
Churches are panicking...
Covid cases seem to be increasing...
Fear is gripping everyone...
Our socializing is being reduced to smaller and smaller "bubbles"!
But here's the thing. We don't really care...we will continue planning!
And why would we do that? Because we have discovered something. We have discovered that we just like meeting together! Regardless of what's going on around us...we've discovered something in the process.
Of course we do meet within strict covid rules. We are all artists who find just being together and sharing invigorating, even in a time of fear and loneliness where we can quickly lose our artistic enthusiasm, intention and joy!
Now us artist really like envisioning an art show anyways! So we got together initially to plan one. But on the way we learned something. We really like talking about artsy stuff, you know, what each of us are all doing artistically, sharing our visions and dreams, handing around I-phones showing our art, again and again. We bring our pieces to the meetings...
Guess what we have created a "tribe" where we are being encouraged and invigorated. Purposes renewed. It has brought all of us new spiritual oxygen and excitement. Forget about depression and lethargy! Everyone is excited and working again!
You know what? We know our plans could be dashed by this crazy pandemic, but we will continue planning, envisioning, dreaming and bringing ourselves into a creative frenzy...regardless of how things turn out. WE ARE MAKING ART....CREATING!
AND THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE. We will continue to meet, create and dream...THAT'S WHO WE ARE!
So stay tuned...we will keep you posted!!
Water Color, 10.5 X 14.5 in.
By Cliff Derksen
Inspired by a photo of the edge of the Makhtesh Ramon, a massive crater-like feature in the Negev desert. It is one of only seven in the entire world.
We are in difficult times, yes in "trouble' and the best thing according to my hero David is to ask his God to be the "high road," the "high place," for him. He needs a place where he's safe and can see the big picture!
"In times of trouble, you will protect me. You will hide me in your tent and keep me safe on top of a mighty rock." Psalm 27:5 (CEV)
We now have experts in the financial world, in the political world, in humanities all telling us that this world wide pandemic will affect us all and that life and culture will never be the same. What is even more disconcerting is that we have lost control it seems! For example, we have a family wedding planned for August in British Columbia, but it's now a wait and see thing! Will the planes be flying? Will we be able to gather in a group of one hundred or so people? Will the hotel be functioning? and so on. We have lost control!
David too has lost control! He is asking the living God to place him in communication with Him . He needs God and needs to feel his presence, his guidance and advice. Being a military man, he was aware of the advantage of the high ground, and that is what he also wanted God to be for him, the safety of the high ground.
May this painting be a reminder for us that there is a place of "high ground" where peace and understanding can be experienced even in this time of trouble.
"The best view comes after the hardest climb."
A Fig Tree common in the Holy Land
Water Color by C. Derksen
A few days ago I got a word about the fig tree mentioned in Mark 13:26. It simply says that when its "twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near!" With a little investigation I learned a lot about the fig tree in the Holy Land!
This tree, often mentioned in scripture is a very unique and interesting plant. For example there are over 750 known fig tree species all across the globe! Those in the holy land were of medium height, 15-25 feet with a canopy that spreads out quite widely. They had thick foliage and so threw a great shade in the summer heat. People would build their homes near fig trees so they could sit beneath them in the cool of it's shade. It was something like us sitting on our patios, in gazebos or porches with an awning and so on overhead. One could picture them sipping a cool drink, visiting with family or friends, playing checkers, rocking and just dozing or meditating in the cool of the shade.
There actually are several other references to how the fig tree represented safety and rest. One such is Micah 4:4 "but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken."
One could obtain dried figs from the fig tree. They are a sweet and nutritious fruit that you can enjoy year-round and there are many kinds in a wide variety of colors and textures. With health benefits ranging from being high in fiber to strengthening bone density, healthy shiny hair and much more. Figs are considered a fantastic all around source for a healthy diet.
Not surprisingly, anyone who owned a fig tree was considered wealthy, plus It was a place of safety and rest. Bruce Malina – who studies the social science of the first-century world – has even suggested that when a fig tree is referenced, it’s actually a symbol for home. (1)
Today, we are experiencing something very unique. Folks around the world are being asked to stay at "home!" We to can now spend time relaxing with our families or just being alone depending on our situation. But is it a time we can make and cook our own food, talk things over with our spouse and our kids of all ages, rest, read, meditate, consider our lives, where we are at financially, physically, spiritually etc. We have been given an opportunity to re-tool, adjust away from the pressures of everyday life as in the past. It might even be an artistic adventure we can explore in a new way.
Let us not be overcome with fear, anger or anxiety! Understand there is a reason for all of this, and it is for us to re-connect with one another and our Creator in a new and intimate way. It is our own Fig tree scenario were we can re-tool for what lies ahead.
May we all come out of this stronger, centered and excited for how we will do things differently in the future. We have a God who loves us and wants to see us grow in our understanding of Him, who he is and how we can grow in our relationship with him. This is a time of creativity and renewal, so that we can go forth with new energy, people with a new purpose and priorities when we are freed from this pandemic.
Remember, you are a rich person because you can sit in the shade of your imaginary fig tree, safe in your own home having been given the time to become a new person for the new tomorrow that will soon be upon us.
God bless you all!
Inspiration and information from:
Rev. Sherouse First Baptist Church 1000 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC, 27401 https://fbcgso.org/leaving-the-shade-sermon-by-alan-sherouse/
(1) Bruce Malina & Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary: "The Gospel of John"
"Home isn’t where you’re from,
it’s where you find light when all grows dark"
"When We Sow Seed!"
Water Color by Cliff Derksen
April 8, 2020
When I tell my children stories of my growing up years, they think I grew up in another country! They're shocked I'm still alive! You know what, I did really grow up on a small mixed farm in Saskatchewan and survived to tell the tale. Actually, except for a seasonal allergy I experienced, I loved it.
I was thinking about this pandemic we are experiencing wondering what I or we as believers should be doing right now in the midst of all this fear, and anxiety. Pappa gave me a prophetic word just this Monday from 2 Corinthians 9. where Paul is explaining the benefits of sowing seeds, which he says is exactly what a farmer does, plants his seeds and reaps a bumper crop like in the painting above.
What were the benefits of sowing these seeds? Lets see what he harvested and do the math.
First, this farmer will have enough for himself and his family, Secondly, he must keep seeds for next years crop. He cannot eat those. Thirdly he will be provided an amazing amount of extra seeds he can give away, planting them where there are needs in his community.
And that's just the point I realized my Lord was making! I need to look around and find out how I can plant seeds in the midst of this pandemic! Do that and you and I will see fruit produced! There will be a harvest!
So, what is this seed I'm giving? The first thing we think of is money and it may be, but it's much more. How about taking the time to pray for the very lives of our front line workers? How about being positive as we go shopping in the grocery store with smiles, sharing pleasantries with all you can from 6 feet away? Tuesday morning when shopping a woman behind us said something important as we were lined up for an usher to point us to a cashier, she said, "This kind of thing brings out the bad in some people and the good in others!" And she's right. We actually experienced that during our shopping trip.
let's take the time to consider the good things we can "sow" during this difficult season. Lots of folk are struggling with many things all at once and a positive loving attitude goes a long way to change what could be a negative experience into a positive one.
We all have more seeds than we think. Lets plant them and watch the abundance of positive result appear like a farmers bumper crop!
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson