Beauty from Brokenness: About Ashes and Crowns

Today’s post is shared by Sue Riger from A Painter’s Journey

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:

In the 70’s my school showed us film clips of atom bomb survivors.

The radiation poisoning caused unthinkable suffering. Bandaged people walked aimlessly among the ash and rubble.

My school taught that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ultimately saved lives by ending WWII. But my gut writhed with the atrocity. I wondered how recovery could be possible.

Incredibly, post-war Japan produced a group of artists in the early 1950s who believed beauty emerges when something becomes damaged or decayed. The Gutai group professed that a thing’s inner life is released during the process. Breaking from traditional Japanese art, they produced this figure:

electric dress

electric dress electric dress Looks angelic doesn’t it? It’s called “Electric Dress” by Atsuko Tanaka.

The concept reminds me of Lodgepole pine trees.

lodgepole pine

High above the forest floor, their cones are sealed shut by resin. In patient dormancy they wait for the liberating furnace of a forest fire.

Only intense heat will melt the resin and release the seeds from the tree’s crown.

In this way beauty emerges from destruction and ashes.

Borrowing a phrase from the 70’s — this next part really blows my mind.

Isaiah says we are to receive crowns of beauty instead of ashes and that we will be called plantings of the Lord, oaks of righteousness!

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3

Jesus – despised, rejected, scourged, condemned to die – received a crown of thorns.

Brutal beauty.

Beautiful because he willingly took it all for us. Without the suffering Jesus bore, we could not take part in the victory he offers to us. He descended into death. Total surrender.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

Oh happy news! On the third day Jesus emerged from the grave. He is alive and we receive crowns of beauty instead of ashes. By faith we join him – sprouting new growth in the midst of a suffering decaying world. Restoring broken hearts. Setting the captives free.

…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. Col. 1:18-20 MSG

Sue RIgerSue 

I’m sojourner.  Here for a lifetime and hoping to make it count. For me, creativity is a fun gift from God and an avenue to display gratitude for the beauty around us. My husband, three great kids and four giggly grandkids fill my life with wonder and joy. Whether looking through the lens or holding a paint brush, the creative process is a way for me to thank God for surrounding us with so much beauty.

Connect with Sue at: apaintersjourney.com

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Art from the Brokenness of Alcohol

Art from the Brokenness of Alcohol

$5 dresser

The Redefined Dresser

Beauty From the Ashes

Beauty From the Ashes

The Face of Beauty: The Time to Live is Now – Lygon Stevens

Sharing Lygon’s story again this week, meditating on the resurrection life Jesus desires for me to live.

Yes, the time to live is now. May I be such a desperate searcher and live it so beautifully . . .

I am a work of art, signed by God.

But He’s not done; in fact, He has just begun…I have on me the fingerprint of God. Never will there ever be another person like me. In all the world I have a job to do in this life that no other can do.

Can you see the fingerprint of God on me?

Lygon climbling

Lygon Stevens once carried my eight-year-old daughter. After a few bumps on her knees from tripping over shoes that were too big, a teen-age Lygon scooped her up and transformed her frustrated tears into joy.

She became a hero to me right then.

Lygon was a gentle, quiet girl who was amazingly strong in her devotion to the Lord and in her physical and mental ability to climb high–very high–mountains. Tragically lost in an avalanche in January of 2008, she would not be found until late June when the snows melted. Only her camera and journal were recovered by her climbing partner, her brother, who miraculously survived.  In Lygon’s journal, in addition to being able to read her last thoughts on earth, her family discovered the astounding beauty of her written words and her intimate relationship with the Lord.

It is my hope that whoever might read the pages in this small book would not see a victory won by greatness, or determination of self, or a uniqueness in a person that brings them to high heights…I can only Lygon journal hope that the reality of human frailty and the inability to do anything outside the will of the Lord God would be evident. This is not the account of the journeys of a young girl, no, it’s the message that that girl is allowed to write of the glory of the Lord God Almighty…He is the reason for living and for whom I will someday die. There is nothing without Him, no god beside Him, and only by Him was I chosen as a witness to tell the world of His great deeds.

I remember hearing her parents say at her funeral that they realized, through reading her writings, that Lygon was always more His than she was theirs. I personally cannot thank them enough for their generosity in sharing her words with us. Lygon was, and always will be, a Hero with a capital H.

She is the face of beauty in a life well-loved. A life well lived.

A legacy of a life well written, left for those of us to read who, as her mother Sarah said, “still have a peak to summit.”

The Time to Live is Now

The time to run and wake up every morning excited about what the world might throw your way is Lygon on mountainnow. The time to lay low in turmoil and humility before God is now. The time to seek and find, the time to change and learn is now…

Now is the time to live. Not tomorrow, not in ten minutes, not in twenty, not when you are good and ready. But don’t think you have to do this and become this — your full duty is to love the Lord so much you would lay down your life and value His will above the richest gain of earth…Be a desperate searcher. Yes, the time to live, and live truly, is now.

♥ In loving memory of Lygon and Sarah Stevens ♥

To order the book Cairns for the Climb from the journals of Lygon Stevens and to read more of her story click here to go to the Lygon Stevens Time to Live is NOW website.

Day of Discovery has produced a full-length documentary The Time to Live is NOW on Lygon’s life story. The links below are to the preview and the full 90 minute video.

Linda Crawford

 

 

More Faces Of Beauty:

Me

Me

Amanda

Amanda

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Writing in the White Space: Grave-tending What Was

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15 MSG, NKJV

the dead trying to look aliveThe roses look dead in my garden.

Yet leaves still cling to thorny stalks that have stood upright through snow, cold, and the wicked winds that have whipped them.

Standing. Through the darkest season.  With the barest appearance of being alive.

Grave-tending the life that once was.

Afraid to let go, lest all becomes lost to death.

Like me.

But.

Today.

Is the first day after.

Resurrection life has been offered to me.

Jesus alive, stretches out blood-stained hands, and beckons me to surrender my grave-tending life . . . to LIFE.

Take my sorrow . . . take my fear, Lord.

“What was, is past,” He whispers.

girl at the graveTurning from tending my grave of the life that was, the eyes of my child open to see what will be . . .

Wonder, joy, and the hope of things beautiful to come.

The grave is overcome.

There’s a day that’s drawing near 
When this darkness breaks to light 
And the shadows disappear 
And my faith shall be my eyes 

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed 
The victory is won 
He is risen from the dead.

(I Will Rise, Chris Tomlin)

The victory over my was is won . . .

“What’s next, Papa?”

“The becoming of beautiful,”  He whispers.The becoming of beautiful

Linda Crawford

 

 

We celebrate the beauty of words…written in the white space–the empty room of freedom of thought–where words are created that sing, dance and illustrate life’s beauty.

More Writing in the White Space:

Astonished by His Grace

Astonished by His Grace

Margins

Margins

We long to create poem

vytvoreni

He is Risen!

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.

Matthew 28:6 NLT

HE IS RISEN

Enjoy the simple beauty of this music video:

I Will Rise

by Chris Tomlin

Writing in the White Space: Resurrection

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” Romans 8:15 MSG

Writing in the White Space 2

Praying for the beauty of the resurrection life of Jesus for you today.

Linda Crawford

©Linda Crawford 2013

More Writing in the White Space posts:

We long to create

Vytvoření

Cold

Cold

Joy Floats

Joy Floats