Friends Photo: Focus

Today’s photo theme is “Focus” and comes from a new blogger friend, Jim, who shares beauty and wisdom that inspires me each day at his blog: jimfields.wordpress.com

What does “Focus” mean to you?

Sometimes focusing on the details can be rather abstract, confusing, or maybe details just don’t let us see the true beauty.  Details can be choppy, crude or even obscure.

When that happens, when the big picture gets lost in the details, we have to step back and look from a different vantage point to see with more clarity.

In other words sometimes the greater beauty is seen in the big picture where the details combine and fit together.

The details of life are the moments, the efforts, the work, the play, the things that happen to us or for us.  The larger picture is our goals, where we’re headed in life, what we look forward to…And sometimes life distracts us from the larger picture – usually because we are so intent looking at how to make the best of the moment, or because things don’t always go the way we plan.

The same is true in our religious life.  The detail is the life we live day-to-day and the effort we make at helping God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  The larger picture is people, mission is people…It is helping people see the beauty in the life of Jesus Christ, the mind of God.

A balanced Christian life is living the details all the while keeping an eye to Jesus.  Sometimes we can see clearly up close…other times to see clearly we have to back off and broaden our vision.

Peace,

Jim FieldsJim

 

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Six Minute Sabbath: To Create

God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. Gen 1:27 MSG

It seems a mystery to me–where the vision, voice, and melody of creative inspiration originates.

Beethoven Piano Concerto #3

Piano Concerto #3 handwritten score by Ludwig van Beethoven

Yet we, as created beings ourselves, were designed to create. To paint pictures that have never been painted, compose music that has never been heard, write words that have never been spoken, and dance to choreography that has never been danced.

To create beauty–to create what has never before been created–brings glory to THE Creator.

Today, this story and piece of music inspires me to give glory to God for endowing us with the ability to create such beauty. May it inspire you to embrace the notes of your own creative melody–because we are all created to create.

Beethoven: Imagining the Notes

When Beethoven performed his Piano Concerto No. 3 in concert for the very first time, he had no music. His friend, who turned the pages of the music for him that night, later wrote:

“I saw almost nothing but empty pages; at the most, on one page or another a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible to me were scribbled down to serve as clues for him; for he played nearly all the solo part from memory since, as was so often the case, he had not had time to set it all down on paper.”

Lord, may we embrace inspiration, and be infused with courage, to create works of  beauty to bring you glory!

Linda Crawford

©Linda Crawford 2013

Beauty from Brokenness: The Becoming of an Artist

broken man

Jesus is the supreme artist, more of an artist than all others, disdaining marble and clay and color, working in the living flesh. – Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was a broken man when he first picked up his paintbrushes and pen.

He wanted to be a missionary, to follow in his father’s footsteps as a pastor.

Giving away all his possessions, he lived with the peasants he ministered to.

That wasn’t deemed fitting for a man of God.  It was deemed scandalous…and the church kicked him out.

In his brokenness, Vincent found a new purpose from God:

In that deep misery I felt my energy revive, and I said to myself, in spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I had forsaken in my discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing. From that moment everything has seemed transformed for me.

The becoming of Vincent van Gogh had begun.

He set out to paint sermons instead of preaching them.

Self-taught, Vincent professed he would rather paint people’s eyes than cathedrals, “for there is something in the eyes that is not in the cathedral.”

van Gogh

Later in life, as his brushstrokes became more bold, his colors violently vibrant, he wrote: “The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant colors, well-arranged, resplendent.”

That’s coloring life beautiful.  🙂

gladiolas

Despite all the hardships and despair he suffered, and despite never receiving recognition for his art during his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh embraced beauty.

Henri Nouwen wrote of Van Gogh: “What beauty, what joy, and what ecstasy he was able to embrace. Mourning calls for dancing, dancing for mourning. Glory is hidden in pain. And in this mysterious duality that has become a duet, Vincent celebrates life.”

His brokenness became his art. His art, the sermon of his life . . . beautiful.

What sermons will you paint, write, create, and live today?

All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. Colossians 1:20 MSG

The broken pieces©Linda Crawford 2013

To read more about Vincent van Gogh click on these links:

Becoming van Gogh

Van Gogh’s Letters

Van Gogh: The Life

From Preaching to Painting: Van Gogh’s Religious Zeal