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Tag Archives | art meditation

My Guinness, a Pint-Sized savior!

Today’s Advent Art Meditation is from 1 John 1: 4-7. John is talking about not just saying you know Jesus, but really “knowing” him in a way that makes it hard to fake.

JN792_Guinness

A Pint of Guinness

The Holy Spirit is like a pint of Guinness. OK, I know that’s a bit of a leap, but I was talking with my Irish friends this morning via Facebook as they were about to eat dinner and I was about to eat breakfast, and my free-association logic kicked in.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

I could sneak a glass of stout at home, sit in a dark room and drink it alone. I could then claim “Yes, I’ve had that drink.” But there would be something missing. Other than a possible drunken stupor, there would be no lasting emotional connection. What’s the big deal? I probably should have had water. I missed the point of the libation. I would not have understood it is meant to be enjoyed with others.

Or…I could enjoy a pint in a pub with my friends and my friend’s friends, enjoying music by a local fiddler and swapping stories. Now the beer is a vehicle for communication. It loosens everyone up, makes the laughter flow. I will have a whole different experience. The drink facilitates community. It is meant to be shared in communion with fellow pub patrons.

The reign of Jesus is like that…A child, a pint-sized savior came to show us the way to God, to intoxicate us with His love. We are meant to drink Him in, make Him part of us. When Jesus rose from the dead and Mary Magdalene saw Him in the garden, she was tempted to run to Him. He said, “Do not cling to me for I have not returned to the Father.” This line was always a bit mysterious to me, but perhaps he did not want us to cling to the earthly, physical version of himself like an idol. He came to teach us to cling to the hope beyond this world. He left us with the Holy Spirit to inspire us to bring hope TO the world. Like the drink, it opens us up to communicate, love each other, and work towards “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Don’t worship the drink. Live in the fellowship it creates.

No wonder the Irish call their land “God’s Country”.

This 10 x 10″ painting is available here.

How can I keep from singing?

Today’s Advent meditation is from John 12: 35-36 (You’ll have to scroll down a bit. The link isn’t quite connected on that site)

Painted Bluebird Cole Porter Quote © Jen Norton

“Be Like the Bluebird” painted quote

In today’s reading Jesus hints to his followers that he will not always walk with them on earth. Dark days are ahead and they must know the light while they have the chance. A man in darkness cannot find it’s way.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint for this passage until I sat down last night to watch a DVD interview I did of my grandparents back in 1988. This taped dialogue by my 22-year-old self has been sitting in a box on VHS for years. My mom recently asked me if I still had it, so I had it copied to DVD and just picked it up a few days ago. Last night was the first time I’d watched it in over 20 years. Wow. If you’ve never taken the time to ask your elders about their lives, I suggest you do it! I have footage about life in the early 1900s with only gas lighting, impressions of San Francisco in the 1950s, and my grandmother’s opinion of the change in women’s roles over the years. Mostly I realized how much of the beliefs and philosophies I hold now were shaped by these people. They no longer walk with me, but I have their light to guide me.

My painting today is of bluebirds, with a quote by American composer Cole Porter. My Grandpa Mac’s favorite bird was the bluebird. He would sit on his porch every afternoon and watch them (Grandma wasn’t so big on their screeching, however). He also loved great musicals and especially after he lost his eyesight, you would often find him in his living room listening to recordings of  Broadway numbers. A self-made man, he always believed in me. Of all my family members, his words run through my head most often.

I tried to include a clip from the video here, but alas, I do not have the skills or technology today. For now, please enjoy the quote from Cole Porter. I know my grandfather would.

Be like the bluebird who never is blue,
For he knows from his upbringing what singing can do
– Cole Porter, Be Like the Bluebird, 1934

The original art is available here.

You can also purchase reproductions here or signed greeting cards here.

Look Alive!

Today’s passage for my Advent art meditation is Mark 13: 33-37. The apostle warns us “stay awake” and not be caught unaware when the Master returns. This passage comes at the end of a chapter on all the trials and tribulations to be expected in end times. I find the message relevant to me in current life, not just for some future official “End Times.” It’s a scary chapter. It snaps me out of my complacency and reminds me of all the horrible things that could happen in life. Things that DO happen…I just hope they don’t happen to me! Or anyone I know. Or to anyone near me. I’d rather stay asleep, under the covers. No tribulations, thank-you-very-much.

The only way to not worry about scary things is to live totally in the present. That’s a mighty tall order for humans capable of remembering, holding grudges, having goals and who live under the delusion that all we have belongs to us. It’s pretty much impossible.

Waiting Patiently © Jen Norton

Waiting Patiently

Animals are better at the practice of living in the present than we are.

Take my dog Patti, for example. Patti is a dog who was rescued from a backyard puppy mill. She was kept in a garage, used for breeding and then abandoned. She came to us with a lot of fear. She’s had her tribulations. Now, however, she’s living in a relative dog garden-of-eden. She doesn’t dwell on yesterday. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow. She only cares about two things:

1. Food

2. Who’s providing the food.

Like most dogs, Patti can often be found sound asleep, stretched across the couch, snoring away… But touch the can opener, turn on the stove or come through the door and she’s immediately up, bounding toward you in hopes of a dropped scrap or a bowl of tuna water. Patti lives in the present. She’s “awake” when her master shows up.

If only we could so easily be devoted to God. If only we could stay focused on 1. Love and 2. Who’s providing the Love. But alas, like a dog distracted by a piece of sausage, we once were tempted to step away from our natural state as “children of God” with a bite of apple. Now we have to remember to stay awake. We have to make a point of it. So much easier to fill ourselves up life’s “junk food” and ruin our appetite for God. But then the sugar high fades, and we fall asleep again. We go back to the dream that we’re ready. But we don’t know when we will be called to stand accountable or to breathe our last breath. We should be prepared at any moment. Bummer…I really did want to stay under those covers.

11 x 14 matted reproductions of this painting are available here.