From new painter Alicia Alexander:
acrylic on canvas
Our second week on talking about Noah, we revealed a new focus, that should have been obvious–God. The first week, we saw God using water for destruction, as a justice to a sinful world. Now we see water as cleansing, as hopeful, as a means for reflecting His great bow in the sky. It was not only for us he sent the rainbow, but for Himself, to remind Himself of His promise to never again flood the world as He did so long ago. Not for us did He even make the promise. He knew we would remiss back into a world of sin not five minutes after His preserved creations stepped back onto dry land. Not for Noah did He command him to build the ark. He was certainly not perfect, or savior, or almighty . . . but simply one of God’s instruments. When waves come crashing, remember God has promised–He will not destroy those who are His. The dove leads us out into dry land; into hope, redemption, and the most beautiful, ridiculous, undeserved, complete, unconditional love there is.
by Drew Young
The workings of Monica Longoria:
acrylic on canvas
The classic story of Noah: world gets violent, God gets angry, God has compassion, Noah builds ark, God floods earth, flood washes away, Noah and crew live it up on dry land. Its interesting the role that water plays in this story, as that of the antagonist in a sense. We want water to be peaceful, calm, refreshing, life-giving; and here God goes and uses it to destroy (almost) all life on earth. Our righteous selves can see this as injust–what is a loving God doing destroying His creation? But what else would we have Him do? Our God is not unjust, and does not tolerate sin. His judgments and actions are right, and He has right to anything in His creation. The ark serves as a symbol of hope and mercy in the midst of the waters, showing both the justice and love of our God working side-by-side.
by Stephanie Guckenberger
We were created to share our lives and tell our stories. UM puts on an event each semester just for this. God stories gives 6-8 students the opportunity to share a story in which God has taught them something through. Tonights theme was New Beginnings.
We’re all born into this world that is broken. We all find ourselves, at some point, broken. But God’s in the business of making things new. Taking our sin and shame, He uses our past for good in the present and future. Through our trials, pain, and lessons stories get created. With these stories, we get to help other people, relate to other people, and share with other people. These new beginnings aren’t just for ourselves, but others too. When we are made new, others get to be influenced by that too, and a new story starts to be written. That’s some good stuff.
Look out for the podcast coming up with the stories shared tonight. It will posted on this blog in the near future.
The story continues:
by Drew Young
The tale of Cain and Abel is one we’ve all probably heard . . . but have we really? They lived on this earth. Walked the same broken ground that we walk; had the same desires, the same fears, the same envy, the same hate. While the sun is coming up over God’s good world, sin looms in the valley, but it cannot be hidden. God always knows, and His punishment will be just. Christ, however, has made our intercession; the ground soaking up His blood as it soaked up Abel’s so long ago. For all of our moments of Cain-like rage and pseudo-power. Go against Cain’s lack of shame and repent, with humility and praise for the God who gives. Take Christ’s freedom and run.
by Mikaela Woodbury
acrylic on canvas
The complementary caliber of Emily-Erin Robinson and Katy Ward:
When the sin entraps, we become focused–not on our needs, but our desires. The darkness of sin makes chaos of what we’ve made ordered, stealing Light; it is lost. We’ve made our world like this. Our sin creates this darkness. We can’t help but look back.The work was inspired by the idea of our sin and what it takes to escape from it’s oppression- conviction, repentance, and a complete scouring with grace to be free of the penetrating soot that clings to us. The man is no one in particular, a distraught soul experiencing longing, and the distortion in his face takes away from the overall aesthetic like sin distorts and steals joy. But the loose line work and highlighting were meant to show that there is still beauty to be drawn out. The image is not all black, and there is hope.
But . . . (a key word) we have been offered hope. Redemption. Joy. None of it deserving, but free nonetheless. No matter how deep our sin takes us, the cross of Christ stands firm to take our beating. With it, we are free. Look forward to the light of today, tomorrow, eternity.
*first painting by Katy Ward, charcoal, colored pencil, and acrylic on canvas; “This Cloud of Sin”
*second painting by Emily-Erin Robinson, multimedia on canvas
The workings of Emily Echevvaria:
Marriage. Sexuality. Singleness. How do these merge? How do we make sense of it? How do we live it as Christians in a fallen world? It may be chaos, but it is also beautiful. The body working as God intended sings His praises, and the joy of creation reigns. Going all the way back to Adam and Eve, we ask the question: what is wrong with sexuality today? It’s distorted. Let’s see it for what it really is.
*painting by Emily Echevvaria, multimedia on canvas
I just wanted one little taste
Maybe it was the logic of the beast that led to my haste
As I stared at the fruit it just looked so good
Like wanting it so badly was something I should
In the few small moments where I made that choice
I could here faintly behind me my creator’s voice
You are not to eat of this one single tree
Why I thought, what is he keeping from me?
My decision was driven by simple curiosity
But the fruit left my lips, my eyes opened and I could see
Immediately I felt guilty, naked, dirty.
I had been deceived
I just wanted to see her happy
When she came to me asking
Will you eat this too
I knew exactly what I was told to do
But the guilt in her eyes I could hardly bear
Pain, self loathing, a hint of despair
This woman: flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone
I could not let her carry that on her own
I knew what it felt like being all alone
So I placed my love for her on Gods rightful throne
Honestly maybe I was curious myself a little bit
Why had he made a tree that he did not permit
It wasn’t eves fault, that much ill admit
And tht doesn’t make it right and I knew it
But in the end it was love that made me do it
And if I could take it back I would
If I could do it all over, I wish I wish I could
What I would give for another moment in his presence
I would give my own life for just a few seconds
But I can’t it’s too late
my guilt is too great
I sealed my fate
I’m stuck in this state
And there’s no way to make this path straight
I understand I get it I know my actions implication
And no it’s not just Eve’s brutal pain in childbirth
Or even my never ceasing Toil with the earth
It’s much bigger than that
It’s eternal forever total damnation condemnation separation
From the only source of life
Look me in the eyes
Do you see what I’ve done
I’m responsible for the lost ones
The ones who are dying trying to find their way to the son
Every time I close my eyes I struggle to stay sane
Because what flashes before them is the entire worlds hurt suffering and pain Nations at war bloodshed children slain
And all of that’s on my shoulders I’m the one to blame
No you see I get it I really do
That my actions affect not only me but all of you
I’m Sorry we screwed up we blew it
We sinned and all the while we knew it
We took that fruit and we bit it and we tasted it
We took Gods plan and we crushed it and we wasted it
We looked at God’s creation and we spit on it and made a disgrace of it
We were created in the perfect image of God
But now these leaves cover up our guilty fraud
So you can Call me Adam the first among us to sin
Adam and Eve the ones who ushered death in
But whatever you do don’t forget the fall don’t forget what we’ve done
If you’re looking for a way out of death you won’t find one
if you’re searching for life there is none
And it is in this darkness that we wait day after day for the rising of the sun
All because we just wanted one taste
*poem by Jake Davis, photo by Abigail Dorman
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB)
Here’s the link to the video shown in this week’s Shiloh; watch it over and over again.
Use this post to comment or ask questions about anything you heard in Shiloh last night. What questions does this picture bring to mind? How do you fit sexuality in a community context? How are you living the single life? Or the married life? Any books you recommend on the topic? Tell us here.
*video: Jake Davis & Paige Souder/photo: Drew Young
I’m all about community,
but the truth is we’re missing the opportunity
to be a unit of unity because we refuse to be real,
claiming we need to fully heal before we talk about it.
But we forget that becoming whole is a process
of allowing our mess to be seen.
And I’m not saying that I’ll be able to make you clean,
only God can do that,
but I promise to be there when you get attacked,
because that’s what friends are for.
And I’d be lying if deep in my core,
I didn’t want someone to do the same for me,
’cause, you have to agree, the cry of our hearts is to be accepted.
Not collected, corrected, then rejected,
but to be loved.
And the thing about community is they’re there.
Not sort of or sometimes, but always.
In the wear and tear of everyday life,
or the flare of an overtaking strife,
they’re there to be warriors of prayer and to hear you share,
because they love you.
And I say this from experience, take it.
Don’t just sit, admit defeat, and lose faith.
look for the candle your community lit and follow it.
Commit and receive what they’re giving.
Expose yourself and start living
in this place where you are loved.
For your humor and joy
as well as the sins that try to destroy you are welcome there.
To be shared among a group of people
who support you no matter what.
And I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.
There will be days you want to shut them all out,
but without them, you’re back at square one,
and there’s a lot to be done,
when carrying the weight all alone.
And as humans, we’re prone to hide when our scars are shown,
but don’t, because there’s a beauty about being known fully
by a group of people pulling for you.
And that’s community.
People called into unity standing together,
refusing to be weathered by what tries to deceive,
but standing firm refusing to leave until everyone feels loved.