Last week I posted my Reflections on a Celtic Cross, expressing thoughts that arose from painting and then contemplating on a Celtic cross that I drew on a rock while away on holiday. The rock still sits on my desk. Each morning I ask myself What do you want to teach me today Lord?
I have added the words gratitude, hope and compassion, reflecting on each of these attributes of God as I do so.
There has been much said about the importance of gratitude in the last few years. It seems to impact not only our enjoyment of life but also our health as this article from the Harvard Medical School suggests. Even though I know this I don’t always take the time to express my gratitude. This week have committed to calling family members I am grateful for and talking to friends to express my gratitude. Last year as a result of our Return to Our Senses Advent retreat, I decided to add a week of gratitude to the season of Advent. This exercise has been a good reminder of that for me.
Hope is less tangible but no less important. From a faith perspective it is one of the most important attributes we can bring to the world. Our belief that a better world is not only desirable but possible is often what motivates us to actions that bring about change. For me personally it has been one of the strong motivational forces that has kept me proclaiming God’s kingdom and seeking where possible to live into it.
Compassion – concern for the suffering and misfortune of others – is an emotion that I find often wells up from the centre of my being. This week it was stirred by this article stating that nearly half the Syrian population are now refugees. My heart aches even though my only response at this point is daily prayer for these people.
I have also placed other rocks around my cross. The one on the right is Australian aboriginal art, a reminder to me that rock painting is one of the oldest form of records we have of our ancestors. It makes me feel connected to all those who have gone before me, especially of the faithful witnesses who have proclaimed the love of God throughout the centuries.
The Celtic design on the left I also drew on my holiday. It reminds me of the many attributes of Celtic spirituality that both challenge and shape me.
One thing I love about painting on rock is the permanency of it. I can return to it time and again for fresh insights. And that of course reminds me that God is my rock, also permanent, also freely available at all times for guidance and instruction.
What tools do you use on a regular basis to contemplate the presence of God? How do they sustain and nurture your faith?
Christine, your post will surely help Christian poets and writers to attune ourselves to God before we write in any genre. This should help us to avoid writer’s block too! Thanks. I’ll highlight this on the Christian Poets & Writers blog – http://christianpoetsandwriters.blogspot.com. God bless.
Thanks Mary. I never thought I would be willing to show anything I painted to the world. I think God has a sense of humour. But of course seeing it as a contemplative exercise rather than art really helps.And it does stir up the creative juices.
My tools are ridiculously simple.
First, as someone dealing with depression, I use thankfulness. “There is no room for cynicism in a thankful heart.” – A. W. Tozer
Second, I look at my wife. In her I see God’s love visibly expressed toward me in a daily manner.
Third, the simple prayer “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.” It sounds like mere repetitiion… but in my case it is anything but and deeply comforts me… because He does have such mercy.
Like I said… ridiculously simple.
Thank you, Christine.
I love your suggestions Jon. One of the things Tom & I do when we check in on Sundays is to say what we are grateful for in each other. Blessings on you.
Greetings from the wilds of Arkansas on a hot September day. I so enjoyed the above– your meditation on gratitude ! Your words are of course motivated by the Holy Spirit. And from this meditation I shall keep and hold to 2 permanent things: your pray of quiet trust to Our Lord Jesus and also your question each morning as U look at the painted cross “What do U want me to learn today, Lord?” I shall begin each morning from now on with this pray and question. I almost always start my day with a prayer of thanks, but I am drawn to yours.
Kindest regards to U, dear sister in Christ,
Thanks Stephan. I am glad this spoke to you and appreciate your encouragement. Let me know what comes from your meditations too
I love the wooden celtic cross you have – stunning. Can I ask where you found this treasure?
I have started to surround myself with things in my home that remind me of who God is, and what He is highlighting of Himself in my life at present. I have some wrought iron keys with scriptures on them, reminding me the keys He is showing me from His word in my journey to learning who I am as His Beloved. I have a wooden frame and I write on the glass with dry erase marker that I can change as He emphasises different treasures from His Word. I’ve also recently unrolled our family tree and have it displayed on the wall, to remind me of His faithfulness through the generations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Christine.
Victoria I am sorry. The cross was given to us and we do not know where it came from