Saturday, July 27, 2013

THE NEW BLOG, PAINT YOUR JOY! A Rededication of the old blog, Paint Your Joy!

This is the first post of the new Paint Your Joy!
I just finished a book by Dr RC Sproul: The Holiness of God. The last chapter was called, Holy Space and Holy Time, and opened with this quote by CS Lewis: “Where, except in the present, can the Eternal be met?” I want to share an excerpt from it, as it was part of the reason for my rededication of this blog:

(Regarding the holy space where Moses saw the burning bush)…The sacred character of this spot was not intrinsic but extrinsic… made sacred by a super-added presence.  The event that occurred there loaned an extraordinary dimension to the ordinary… not only a theophany but also a hierophany… [Historian, Mircea] Eliade comments, “Every sacred space implies a hierophany, an irruption of the sacred that results in detaching a territory from the surrounding cosmic milieu and making it qualitatively different.”

(Regarding the holy space where Jacob dreamed of the ladder to heaven, awoke and was afraid and cried out: “How dreadful is this place: this is none other but… the gate of heaven.” He then took the stone he’d used as a pillow, set it on end, and he anointed it with oil. He named the place Bethel…) Eliade notes:…”The symbolism implicit in the expression “gate of heaven” is rich and complex; the theophany that occurs in a place consecrates it by the very fact that it makes it open above—that is, in communication with heaven, the paradoxical point of passage from one mode of being to another.”

Dr Sproul continues, Several significant images are connected in the interplay of this event. The first is the image of the ladder with the ascending and descending angels… the ladder serves as a connecting link between heaven and earth, the sacred and the profane. The second, this holy space receives a new name, Beth-el, precisely because it is deemed not only the “house of God” but also… a door that provides access to heaven. The third… is the image of the stone. Originally the stone was a common piece of rock used for a common purpose in antiquity, namely to serve as a pillow… After the hierophany, the stone is assigned a different purpose. It is transformed from its common purpose to an uncommon purpose.

So I was thinking about the purpose of this blog. Since its inception, its purpose has been common and small. I’ve even tried to limit my plain vanilla text to the space of one image! As a Christian though, my work should not be common or small but should somehow be material evidence of a creature who is madly in love with the Creator. Jesus, in John 1:51, said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” His visit to the planet was both a theophany and a hierophany, and the people who follow Him, who do see heaven opened, are supposed to point to Him in every aspect of their lives. Well, there are many more aspects to my life and art, and much more thought behind what I’m doing with them than what has shown here. I read the Bible every day. I write every day. I paint almost every day. I read a lot and think a lot, not just about painting but about physics and history and psychology; they all influence my art! And all the things I do and think are “open above.” I'm not going to preach but I do want to share.

So I now take this common stone that you’ve been using as a pillow to fall asleep, and I rededicate it, turning it on its side,so that it now points upward toward heaven.  

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