Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bamboo in the Wind - Dhulikhel, Nepal

The drawing is a Dhulikhel Mountain range visible through Bamboo bent over in the wind, based on a  photo taken from the balcony of my bedroom. It is  a drawing in Oil Pastel.  I have included the Instagram picture as a comparison (enhanced by Snapseed app on the i-phone).  The Oil Pastel drawing I have given to Simon a Korean Colleague as a momento.

We were in beautiful Dhulikhel, Nepal for a gathering of CMS people from all over Asia,  about 70 in all. It was a splendid occasion, full of encouragement, as people shared their stories. We had an AsiaCMS board meeting at the beginning and then the Trustees stayed on to meet the people-in-mission (PiM).  We heard from KangSan and Francis about their vision for the future. Vinod lead the bible studies on (modern) Parables of the Kingdom.   There were inspirational dramas based on the personal  stories shared.  Plus visits to local churches and projects. Good food.  And lots of time to talk and chat and catch up.   I led a day training at the end on Samaritan Strategy.  There was a camp fire and cultural evening and the Asia PiM all said farewell to the 3 musketeers: Adrian,  John and myself. It ended in dancing the conga !

The views from Dhulikhel were stunning when the clouds lifted

I came across this poem which combines Bamboo, Wind and Mountain. I'm not sure if Dhulikhel held any such romantic notions for any of the participants.  We'll just wait and see!

The Mountain and the Wind
The mountain stands
The wind plays with her
Leaving her treetops in disarray
The wind moves on, unaware
Of the rustling gossips
Of him and her.
The mountain stands
The wind serenades her
A sighing song among the leaves
The wind moves on, unaware
Of the thousand songs he gave
Echoing in the bamboo grove of her heart.
The mountain stands
The wind dances around her
A waltz, a tango one eventide
The wind moves on, unaware
Of the face he left behind
Carved forever in her heart. 
Angelina Pandian

And here is my attempt at a Haiku poem (5-7-5 stucture) after Matsuo Basho

The Wind blows silent,
As Mountain Peaks through Bamboo,
A prayer is spoken.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Burtigny: a view of Mont Blanc

Here's one I did earlier!  a quick sketch in Oil Pastels of a view of Mont Blanc from Burtigny.
I'm back again, but the cloud is covering the view, so this is to inspire me again.....

We (Rachel and I) were staying at YWAM Burtigny  JEM  or  Youth with a Mission.  They run various schools here as part of the University of the Nations:  'Children at Risk' ,  'School of Strategic Communications' and the like

I'm here for meetings, but also to think.  I have been before with friends talking about their future and thinking and praying through options. And now it's my turn!   It's inspirational just to walk and look at the mountains. There is a stunning beauty and freshness about Switzerland which is hard to replicate.

I am including some Instagrams pics which also give an impression of how beautiful it is here. Not a hardship post by any stretch of the imagination.

Yet on Easter Sunday when we were here there was no sense of occasion. We walked and found the signs of Divinity all around us in the beauty of creation. But there was no service to attend locally.  No sense of celebration. No sense of the historic faith.  It seems to be all in the present, the here and now.  Which I suppose is YWAM -  young and vibrant, here and now, go and do.

But the little Church was open and provided a reflective space to be still and to know.......
And somehow the mountains themselves are a reminder of timelessness and majesty, of solidity and permanence - though nothing is of course ultimately permanent.  

Shelly wrote a poem called 'Mont Blanc' in 1816   about the power of nature raw in tooth and claw, both benevolent and malevolent, 'dark & glittering'.
The everlasting universe of things
Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
Now dark—now glittering—now reflecting gloom—
Now lending splendour, where from secret springs
The source of human thought its tribute brings
Of waters... (Lines 1–5)

There is something about looking up at mountains that makes you think, and reflect, to look beyond self to Something(One)  Higher and Greater. They help us develop our reflexivity and maybe even our prophetic imagination ..... 

In the midst of rush and noise, they move us to silence.

Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:—the power is there,
The still and solemn power of many sights,
And many sounds, and much of life and death....
...The secret strength of things
Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome
Of heaven is as a law, inhabits thee!
And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,
If to the human mind's imaginings
Silence and solitude were vacancy?  (Lines 127–129, 139–144)


Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Risen Lord and a new (Asian) Dawn

I drew my own very rough, pastel version of a He Qi painting, which started out as a biro sketch during a CMS Core Training Conference. It represents the 'Resurrected Christ' or 'The Risen Lord' and seemed appropriate to post on Easter Sunday......  

A large, transcendent, risen Christ, surrounded by 12 disciples. It looks like a dove has descended from heaven and is resting on his forehead. Echoes of his baptism: 'This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.' 

Now he is surrounded by 12 different disciples - women and men - of Asian, Chinese origin. A new era has dawned. It has been said that the 21st century is the Asian Century of Mission. The Pope. John Paul II even prayed for such on his visit to India:
“The first millennia saw the cross planted in the soil of Europe and the second in America and Africa. May the third millennium witnesses a great harvest of faith on this vast and vital continent.
And that is my prayer too, as AsiaCMS takes off, based in Asia. That's shy I left my pen and Pastel sketch with a friend in Pakistan. 

Here is He Qi's inspirational original drawing - a much sharper, clearer, more authentic Asian vision, than through my Western eyes!

Four Dimensions of the Cross: Good Friday Meditation

The 3 hour meditation service at the Foot of the Cross, at Christchurch Woking, had as its centrepiece the Cross we had painted in the previous sacred:space

The service was based on John 3:16  "For God loved the world so much that gave his only son (Length) that whoever believes in him (Breadth) should not perish (Depth) but have everlasting life (Height)" 

We looked at the 4 dimensions of the Cross with images, music, liturgy, prayers, thoughts (by Martin) and responsive activities. Each section was 45 minutes. In the background the DVD of 'The Passion' was playing silently (and often illustrated the reading of Scipture exactly!) ....

1. The Length of Christ's Love

Georges Rouault,  "Ecce homo", 1937-41. canvas on wood. Paris, Musée national d’art modern

The meaning of the story is found in every detail, as well as in the broad narrative…..  The death of Jesus…. is either the most stupid, senseless waste and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns’Tom Wright: Simply Christian (p95) 

2 Breadth of Christ's Love 

‘The Yellow Christ’  Paul Gaugin 1889 Albright Knox Art Gallery Buffallo NY

‘God in Christ has united our human nature to himself…. And demonstrated to us that supreme love of which Christ himself speaks: ‘Greater love has no-one than this (John 15 13), We are thus joined through his grace to him and our neighbour by an unbreakable bond of love….’ Peter Abelard 

We think that Paradise and Calvary, Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place ;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me ;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

John Donne; Hymn to God, My God in my sickness’ 

3. The Depth of Christ's Love

Crucifixion by He Qi, China

‘A god who cannot suffer is poorer than any human. For a God who is incapable of suffering is a being who cannot be involved. Suffering and injustice do not affect him. And because he is so completely insensitive, he cannot be affected or shaken by anything. He cannot weep, for he has no tears. But the one who cannot suffer cannot love either. So he is a loveless being’Jurgen Moltmann   (1974) the Crucified God

4. The Height of God's Love  

Mount Calvary  
William H. Johnson  1944  Smithsonian American Art Foundation

‘God’s act of universal forgiveness is the whole train of action he sets working through Christ, through the Spirit, through the Church, through all-embracing providence, towards the reconciliation of the unreconciled, whether in this world or in a world to come. And of this great process Christ’s blood was, once more, the cost.’
Austin Farrar Saving Belief (p 107)

    Benediction Prayer

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Eph. 3:17-21 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

sacred:space - Community Art in Dangerous Places

IN our last sacred:space (Sat 31st March), we had a visit from Frederica from CMS who spoke about 'Community Art in Dangerous Places'. She described short term placements, through CMS, with the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka,  along the Wall that divides Israel-Palestine, in disputed Kashmir India; and in the slums of Islamabad Pakistan. The art is a product of her interaction with the Community, and reflects their interests, using locally available materials.

Some of Frederica's Art from her time in Pakistan

She is hoping to go to Kabul, Afghanistan in May to help with a Women's Peace Garden (visa permitting) - anyone interested in supporting her in this let me know, and I will point you in the right direction.

It was a fascinating evening and she even got us as a group to paint individual traingles which were all put together to form a patterned cross.

picture of the cross we created,  which was then used as a centre piece for out Good Friday Meditation.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

MOLLA NASRADDIN: The Original April Fool?

Today we celebrate April's Fool
We had a church notice mentioning a unknown crypt that had been found during renovation works on the town square
I also posted atweet about virtual communion being agreed by the Pope and ABC
Not sure many were fooled by either !

But then I came across a B&W Russian Molla Nasraddin film on YouTube.  I had to include it even if it's in Russian cos it looks wonderful. Its only 3 mins - definatley worth watching.....

In was particularly interesting in taht  Molla Nasraddin is taking to a 
girl in a swimsuit!? (They don't usually go together in my mind)
So I checked it out with a Russian friend who wrote back: 

I wonder where you've got this piece? Fascinating! ...... Apparently Nasraddin is teaching a modern (swimsuit-clad) lady that appearances may be deceiving, how people may attribute qualities to other people or deprive them of what they've got, just because of appearance. He also rambles that Khalifs, Ghanghis Khans (the guy in a posh car) and Omar Khayyams are still living among us. He then challenges her to look for Nasraddin around, as he is still alive. He also questions the idea of building a monument to him, as he may still do something wrong and may not deserve it. His final line is about his donkey that does not want to get down: 'Ah, donkey, donkey. It's still a donkey even if it went to Mecca.'   Typical Nasraddin!

So why is Ghenghis Khan riding in a posh car ?   ..... I  connected it to the donkey at the end who won't come off his pedestal?

It reminded me of a joke I originally heard in Urdu 
"Gaddagari aur gari men kya ferak hota hai?"    Whats the difference between a Donkey car)t) and  an ordinary car 

"GaddaGari men gadda bahar hota hai!"    With a donkey car(t) the doinkey is on the outside ......1