All Posts Tagged: Michelangelo

The Father’s Heart – 11

 

 

His word thundering so wondrously,
his mighty acts staggering our understanding.
He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’
and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’
No one can escape the weather—it’s there.
And no one can escape from God.
Job 37:5-7

 


A few days ago in Michigan we got our first snow fall. It was the heavy, clinging kind. Overnight Father “ordered the snow, ‘blanket the earth‘” and a masterpiece was created.

Yearly, 5 million visitors gaze in wonder at the artistry of Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This is precisely the experience Father intends for his kids! “Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars. Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings. Now, think!  What delight God gives to humankind with all these things.” (Hildegard of Bingen).

In an earlier post (The Father’s Heart – 11) I mentioned the football stadium at the University of Michigan. Because it’s the largest in the country, it’s called the BIG HOUSE. It was made for THE PLEASURE of 107,601 fans. Now, imagine a fan that went to the BIG HOUSE, but never watched the game. Preposterous! Perhaps the male student was focused on a beauty in the stands.  

We live fast-paced lives! We have little time to “glance“, to “see“, to “gaze” at the WONDER-FILLEDworks of God” ! Like the student above, we ignore Father’s BIG HOUSE, missing THE PLEASURE He intends. 


Furthermore, we seem to be amazed more by Disneyland, along with all the other man made structures, than by Fatherland!

 

 

 

Have you been cottaging or camping near a lake or river? Have you traveled to see a “natural wonder“? Have you been mesmerized by a starry night? Why is it that, in such environments, our spirits automatically sore to heights beyond “normal” ” experience? 


Obviously, a smoke alarm is made to sense smoke. So it is with the human spirit. Father made it to naturally sense Him! Through nature the Father is constantly shouting: “I love YOU! I made this for your PLEASURE!” 

Easter Impact – Detour

Paul said to the Philippians: “It doesn’t bother me to write the same things to you that I have written before. In fact, it is for your own good.” Accordingly I shall take a small detour to review what we have discovered.

 

The impact of EASTER is Energy.

The impact of EASTER is Attitude.

The impact of EASTER is Success!

Previously I’ve employed fish, flowers and birds. You may think my elevator doesn’t go to the top floor (perhaps it doesn’t). However, please consider these words: “Consider the ant, you lazy bum. Watch its ways, and become wise(Proverbs). Examining ants can produce wisdom according to Solomon, said to be the wisest person that ever lived. 

Today, I’m focusing on a creepy (pardon the pun) creature: the caterpillar. STOP! Don’t turn away before carefully examining the incredible coloration and intricate design of these exhibits in the  Creator’s dazzling theatre. One thing that interest me is that at  74 I don’t have the motor coordination with two legs that I once had. Yet, most caterpillars navigate with 16 legs! Go figure!

>    I ASK TWO SIMPLE BUT PROFOUND QUESTIONS!    <

Do caterpillars bear the “image of God” (Genesis 1:27-28)?

Are they “God-like“?

Do they possess “personhood“?

Preposterous questions” you say. I assure you, they are not. Consider New Age pantheism. It’s a worldview that believes all things are divine, or a part of god: people, rocks, trees, stars, etc. Walt Whitman, the poet, was a pantheist.

Paul captures the Biblical perspective: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus...” (Ephesians 2:10)  Note the word ‘workmanship‘! The Greek possesses the ‘flavor’ of a “work of art“, thus, “a masterpiece.

Hence, Michelangelo’s fresco, the creation of Adam, in the Sistine Chapel! With fingertips touching (the densest area of nerve receptors in the whole body is the fingertips) the personal Creator releases Adam into human personhood.


So, here’s my conclusion (in questions which I also address to myself).”

1) Do you consider yourself a masterpiece of the Creator Father?

2) Do you believe that you are a work of art, unique as the Mona Lisa?

3) Did Father create you at least as beautiful as a caterpillar?

4) Caterpillars crawl. You are meant to fly! (Isaiah). Are you crawling or flying?

5) Are you as much a demonstration of the Father’s glory as caterpillars? (I don’t mean to be demeaning; but I know how many feel / believe about ourselves).

I end with a poem by Steven Curtis Chapman that I’m gradually embracing. What about YOU?.

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God’s hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He’s been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God

Just look at you
You’re a wonder in the making
And God’s not through, no
In fact, He’s just getting started…

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God

Easter Impact – Part 4

But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 15:57


The impact of EASTER is Energy.

The impact of EASTER is Attitude.

The impact of EASTER is Success!


SUCCESS
! Millions of books have been sold on this subject. For example, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has sold over 70 million copies since 1928. Peter Kreeft once made a humorous comment about the plethora of books on sex. “
The fact that there are thousands of ‘how to do it’ books on the subject does not mean that we know how; in fact, it means the opposite. It’s when everybody’s pipes are leaking that people buy books on plumbing!” This, I believe, is the reality about topic of success.

Everybody wants to know how to do success‘. However, success is not primarily about DOING! According to Jesus it’s about BEING!” “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way to your true self. What good would it DO to get everything you want and lose YOU, the real you?” (Mark 8:34-37) In other words, in the process of doing the secrets of success one can lose one’s real self. Elvis Presley, Whitney Houstin, Prince, Robin Williams, Cobain, Eastman, Van Gogh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Virginia Woolf, and my friend – the list is endless …  creatively successful people who “cashed it in”! I shall attempt no commentary except to say this: in all their DOING they didn’t find peace with their BEING. If that seems simplistic to you, take it from one who knows.

John Calvin described this world as a theatrum gloriae, a “dazzling theater” displaying God’s glorious works. Viewing the following exhibits in the Creator’s theater, ask yourself: how are these successful? If this is below your “pay grade”, you have my sympathy.


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Of course, I know they are JUST fish! That’s the point. Though they are subhuman, each in their extravagant BEING-NESS is a display of God’s handiwork. As such, each is victorious. Each is a SUCCESS! They ARE what the Creator intended them TO BE in his theater. 

Research has shown exactly what Jesus said. You can gain the whole world and lose YOUR-SELF! Merely DOING is a DEAD-end! Success (victory) is only found in uncovering who you ARE according to the Creator’s design. There is no greater expression of this than in Michelangelo’s graphic representation of the creation of Adam.

Easter means that the Creator is severely intent on resurrecting a new you built upon His original design. Short of that everything is but “smoke and fire” or, as Solomon said, “Emptiness!”

Look at the fish again. I’m absolutely serious! Have you discovered that YOU, not what you DO, are a masterpiece in the Creator’s theater? Easter success (victory) is to be discovered by uncovering the YOU that is available by virtue of Jesus’ resurrection.

Have you experienced the touch of the Creator’s finger on your life? It’s nothing less than the power of the resurrection? “The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make a brand-new creation.” (Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God )

OK, a point of transparency! This is THE struggle of my 74 year old life! 

Christ and creation—Jesus: the tool of construction

Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24)

In the last post in this series, we learned that whereas the Father “is the ultimate source of all things,” Jesus is the Father’s construction agent. The obvious next question is: how did Jesus do it? How exactly did He construct the cosmos? What did He use to get the job done? The answer is simple but exceedingly profound.

God is the One Who used His power and made the earth. He used His wisdom and built the world” (Jeremiah 10:12). The foundation of what IS … is God’s power and wisdom. I suspect that you understand the word “power.” Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki? However, the word “wisdom” is a bit more difficult to grasp, especially from the Hebrew perspective. We’re more acquainted with “knowledge,” the accumulation of facts and figures.

So, check this out: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have specifically chosen Bezalel. I have giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is able to design pieces to be made from gold, silver, and bronze, to cut jewels and put them in metal, to carve wood, and to do all kinds of work. He’s a master at every craft!’” Bezalel’s profile captures the meaning of wisdom. Get the point?

Now, here’s profundity—“Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” As Father’s construction agent, Jesus himself is God’s power and wisdom at work in building and sustaining the universe. Just as the Sistine Chapel is a display of Michelangelo, the Creation is a grand display of Jesus! The material world is jam packed with His power and wisdom!

mandarin duckMeister Eckhart said: “Every creature is a word of God.” Here’s an illustration: a mandarin duck. What you observe in design and coloration is a display of Jesus, the Word! Perhaps we should learn to utter this simple prayer of Michelangelo: “Lord, make me see Thy glory in every place.”