Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Sun Catchers, Greensboro, NC
"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world...
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
A spider instinctively weaves an intricate web to catch life sustaining insects as they move through his claimed air space. Vapors rise over the cool waters to catch the sun's first warm rays within the prism of each droplet. And the glow of the reflection illuminates and sustains the still surrounding eco system.
The sun's rays are all around us and upon us with each morning's first dawn. But, we generally only notice them when water vapors are capable of capturing them for our visual senses. God's presence is all around us as well, but many times we will only be aware of it when we are still and His presence is sensed through the eyes of our heart.
"Be still, and know that I am God"
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunrise Ripples, Greensboro, NC
"I had traveled pretty widely in Canada and the United States, city and town and country, and I saw so many people every day, going about their lives, interacting with each other, and I realized that my overall opinion of them by that time was...not high.
So many men and women, young and old, looked and behaved in ways that seemed cruel, petty, self-absorbed, self-righteous, and smug...I had to admit that a lot of people, maybe even most, did not behave very well toward each other.
Most people spend their whole lives in a fairly narrow circle of like-minded friends and neighbors, where it is easy to accept the comforting illusion of human goodness (except for those damn foreigners). But if that insulation were suddenly stripped away, their world might suddenly become a lot bigger, and a lot darker. It is a jungle out there." --Neil Peart, Ghost Rider
Jesus knew this all too well. He was constantly criticized for loving and healing the outcasts and not the in crowd. It's easy to love the lovable. It's a much different ball game to love the unlovable. It takes us waaaay out of our comfort zone. And words can painfully hurt as much as physical actions. Just look no further than the recent cyber bullying cases that resulted in suicide. Yet, just a comforting word of concern and caring for someone who is suffering can bring healing into that person's life as effectively as medications. And doing good is like casting bread upon the rippling waters--it circles back to you and replenishes you many times over.
Potter's Furnace, Seagrove, NC
Chinese Red Pots, Seagrove, NC
"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze
Than it should be stifled by dryrot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
Every atom of me in magnificent glow, Than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."
--Jack London's published credo
Just as iron is hardened to steel and clay vessels are hardened to beautiful vases, we are all hardened in the crucible of life so that we can grow our character (not our personality) on our life's journey. This is the ultimate human job description. And we do not accomplish this by cowering from life in a vain attempt to extend the days of our lives, but by fully engaging them in the heat of battle so that we not only emerge bloodied and fully used up, but completed.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Green Ripples & Golden Rays, Greensboro, NC
There are two key ways of spreading light in this world--
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
The true light of the world can be reflected back into the world
through our positive response to the world.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Ethereal Radiant Energy, Greensboro, NC
"The true light that gives light to every man..."
Ironically, I took this photo in a business park on a Monday morning at sunrise over a little pond of cool early springtime water. A fountain in the center of the pond spreads water droplets and vapor over the rippling water and the rising sun's long warm rays are highlighted and diffused through the multitude of airborne micro prisims. As I was shooting, vehicles bearing hurried knowledge workers sped past me with little notice as their occupants rushed to begin another work week. I had only stopped by this little corner of the world once before on a Sunday morning but I'm certain many of these commuters had pased this way many times before. And I may be the only one who has ever witnessed the image in my camera lens that I saw this particular morning. Is it the light of the world manifested in the rising vapors? It is if you believe that it is. God permeates all creation and His light dispels the darkness.
Who knows just how many chances at life we all receive in our lifetimes? Many almost certainly pass without notice or acknowledgement. And generally, if we were given the option at a critical crossroad, we'd probably ask for just one more. But, at some point, there won't be any more. That's when we hope to intuitively see and recognize the true light revealed for all time.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunrise Spirit Dance I, Greensboro, NC
Sunrise Spirit Dance II, Greensboro, NC
The book, “Learning to Dance”, by Michael Mayne, is about many facets of the dance of life which many writers have used to describe our earthly existence. We humans have always used the dance to connect with the life forces around us. We dance for joy, for rain, for war, for worship, for expression, for celebration, and we generally dance with others as a community. St. Augustine defined community as “members united by a common love of something other than themselves.”
In the dance of DNA, Mayne observes that “Within our bodies are something like 50 trillion different cells, all inter-relating to keep us alive and healthy…All these cells constantly die, their lifespan between three weeks and three months, and are at once replaced. Each cell is a kind of spherical sac packed with atoms and molecules, with the nucleus at its heart. Within that nucleus are the 23 pairs of chromosomes; strung out along the length of the chromosomes are the elementary units of heredity, the genes; these are molecules in the form of deoxyribonucleic acid, more modestly known as DNA.
This nucleic acid is life’s way of remembering how to perpetuate itself over our whole lives…from generation to generation…a twisting double helix. The DNA helix works by replication, a kind of constant unzipping down the middle and rebuilding a new strand. Each time my body makes a new cell, a copy of the replicated DNA moves to each side of the cell and the cell divides. This is an operation of startling complexity, for genes in themselves are inert molecules only activated through their constant dynamic exchange with their surrounding cells. At every moment replication of cells is taking place at hundreds of different sites, at precisely defined moments in the cell’s reproductive cycle, and billions of chemical units in the DNA must be copied with absolute precision in this living organism of the body, in which it is (in the words of Steven Rose) ‘both the weaver and the pattern it weaves, the choreographer and the dance that is danced.’”
Mayne notes in the dance of music, paint and words that “painting expresses an artist’s inner vision and it is not only the great sweeping canvases of Rubens or Veronese that astonish. It is those of painters who paint the ordinary in such a way that it becomes extraordinary.” It is a celebration of the in-dwelling of a God who constantly creates in and through the processes of nature. And it is awe that best describes our response to the endless dance of nature. God’s glory is present in the spectacular light dance of every new sunrise and sunset.
The dance of life is played out irregardless of how consciously we participate and no matter how unrehearsed we choose to be. And faith is an attitude of the heart to trust in the mystery of the dance and God.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wisteria Fence, Jamestown, NC
Wisteria Entwined on Fence, Jamestown, NC
Actor as Fuji Musume, by Tadamasa Ueno
Fuji Musume or Wisteria Maiden is a famous classical dance from the Japanese Kabuki theater. The dance conveys the spirit of the wistera as a fashionable young girl wearing a long sleeved kimono, called a Nagasode, and a sash, or obi, with a wisteria pattern woven into the fabric. She also carries a wisteria branch.
The nagauta or song lyrics that accompany the dance are complex and create a series of suggestive images. They make sensual references to the closeness of the wisteria to that which supports its entwined stems, compared to two lovers sleeping together.
The dance then moves through stages of the relationship including the initial joy of a girl in love, then the heartbreak of jealousy and betrayal. All inspired by the springtime arrival of the delicate light blue wisteria vine wildly entwined in nature.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Spirit Dance I, Jamestown, NC
Spirit Dance II, Jamestown, NC
It's been noted that if we want to attempt to understand what our risen spiritual bodies will be like in the after life, we should study the risen body of Jesus in the Gospels.
Mary Magdalene was the first one to arrive at the tomb in the garden where they had laid Jesus’ dead body. She saw that the large stone covering the entrance was rolled away. This was not necessary for Jesus to leave the tomb, but so that others could see that he was risen! Mary ran to get Peter and John and they entered the tomb to find the grave clothes were left in the shape of a cocoon, as if Jesus had passed right through them. The headpiece was still rolled up in the shape of a head. This was no act of a grave robber.
Jesus later appeared to his disciples who were gathered in a locked room and also shared a meal of fish and bread. I believe there may quite possibly be a correlation in this resurrected body and the revelations in my blog on "The Universal Community". We now understand that there are no boundaries at the basic subatomic level of the universe. Everything around and within us consists of atoms and molecules vibrating in mostly space. Our bodies eventually return to the dust from which God crafted Adam before he breathed life into him. But our resurrected bodies will not only be eternal and pain free, but seemingly crafted from universal molecules that defy boundaries while occupied by the final iteration of our soul.
A brain scientist recently experienced a serious stroke that incapacitated her left hemisphere where the orientation association cortex resides. This area of the brain controls our ability to discern physical boundaries, time and space. Her perception of her physical boundaries was no longer limited to where her skin met air. She perceived herself not as a separate entity, but as a fluid connected to a boundless eternal flow of dynamic energy. She perceived a natural order of the universe consisting of a delicate cosmic dance of particles in soft vibration.
C. S. Lewis profoundly observed, "Something perfectly new in the universe had happened—Christ had defeated death. A completely new mode of being arose in the universe—as new as the first coming of organic life. And we recorded that the human personality survives death."