Artful Julybilee: Towards Justice For All Creation

by Melissa Taft

Editors Note: Each Thursday in July we are having an Artful Julybilee – a celebration of art through the exploration of our current theme. We have many talented artists and authors and will be featuring several each week culminating in a booklet at the end. Come explore the facets of what it means to be Living as Christ Lived: Towards Justice, Love, and Peace for All Creation through the lens of art. You can find Part One Here: Towards Peace For All Creation and Part Two Here: Towards Love For All Creation. You can continue on to Part Four Here: Living As Christ Lived or go straight to the beautiful compilation booklet in our shop – free to download!

Featured image: A painting of the Aireys Inlet Lighthouse by Evelyn Heard

The Lighthouse

by Evelyn Heard

The Aireys Inlet Lighthouse on Australia’s Great Ocean Road has always been a favourite of mine to paint in different mediums.

A lighthouse has two primary functions: to warn passing ships of danger; and to serve as a navigational aid for the same ships. The light not only illuminates the surrounding area, it also alerts others of an unmoving source nearby. In the same way that a lighthouse can help a ship find its bearings when traversing uncertain waters, so there are times when others cross our paths for a brief moment, but find some assurance in our presence, our words, or a simple affirmation.

But it is also important to remember that lighthouses need to be maintained. For continuous service, they need care and attention, though there may be a long time when its presence seems irrelevant, it needs to be ready for that unforeseen moment of a passerby … a reminder of an important need in our own lives, never more possible and necessary than the times when we consider ourselves redundant, or irrelevant.

Take some time to reflect on the impact our presence in the world makes to those passing by … and consider what (or who) it is that we look to that keeps us feeling safe, nurtured and guided along life-giving pathways.

John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”


Lord, we see so much turbulence around us. Some anticipated, whilst there is much that came upon us unexpectedly. We thank You for providing us with a source of light and guidance through such times. Whether the sun is shining or the storms are circling around us, continue to remind us that Your light will never go out. Remind us that our own light can be a source of peace and hope to those we come into contact with. Remind us to tender our own resources in this journey, not knowing when we might be called upon to guide another through uncertainty.

Light of the world, you have guided our paths thus far. May Your light continue to illumine our pathways. Amen

5:00 Am

by Laurie Klein

5:00 a.m.   

     “Then the moon will be abashed …” —Isaiah 24:23 NASB

Awash in crimson light,
my thoughts drift
eastward, over the sea:
it’s midafternoon
in Ukraine. Unspeakable
din. Smoldering rubble.
Heart-rain. Thin stammers
of soil, where peril stalks
every neighborhood and
women on twig feet
scavenge mementos of home.

God forgive me, I itch
for the braided smell
of rope, the oiled pulleys
of not my war, the weighty,
black velvet swing
of a curtain I can close—
such is my appetite
for relief, my beggared
capacity to take in
the news, God help me,
to abide: trusting, helpless.

Ruler of Night: The ruins. The wrenching cries of your children. And I am so tired of catastrophe. Mea culpa, I distract and neglect and self-protect. Forgive me. Transform my dread for this world into compassion that overflows into action. Amen.

The Grieving Heart

by Lilly Lewin: “‘The Grieving Heart’ Mixed medium piece inspired by my prayers for healing for this broken world and my heartbreak and sorrow over the division, violence, racism and suffering in our country and our world. And inspired by the continuing suffering due to the pandemic.”

IMG 5247What’s in your heart today?
So much sadness
So much heartbreak.
I need healing, We need healing.
We need the hope of love that heals.
We need to harden not our hearts today, but lean into love!
We need to receive Love!
Loving our selves so we can
Love our neighbor!
Believing we are loved so we can love rather than judge and hate!
Asking God/Jesus for help because we cannot do it on our own!
Asking God/Jesus to help us love, especially to help us love our enemies in the midst of everything!
Learning just how hard it is to listen in order to love!
And loving those we don’t understand or who are so different! Help us to Love!
Help us to Love Anyway!
Help me Jesus! Help us Jesus!
You are our only hope … you are Love!

A Good Neighbor

by John Birch

A few weeks ago, I began looking a little closer at the familiar story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, to see how it could form the basis of a Bible study covering broad areas such as justice, faithfulness, fairness, and love. The parables that Jesus told were always intended to be more than just stories with a simple message. They were for taking away and pondering over, looking at the detail and seeing how they might speak into life and faith. This one is a case in point, with a badly injured body on the road, ignored by a priest and Levite for reasons of fear or religious observance (becoming unclean touching a dead body), and helped by a Samaritan, an outsider to the Jews and perhaps the unlikely hero of this story. And that’s nice, the outsider becoming the good neighbour.

But the story doesn’t end there. This good neighbour not only treated the injured man at the scene but took him to the nearest inn and cared for him overnight. Then he gave the innkeeper the equivalent of two days wages for a working man, asking only that he kept an eye on the patient until be returned, whereupon he would reimburse any additional expense.

Now to me, that’s the crux of this parable; the being there, showing compassion, making sure this injured man might have time to fully recover. This is indeed a good neighbour, and that’s how I like to think of him, not as an outsider, the Samaritan, but simply as a good neighbour. Here was someone who knew the value of life and love. It was a natural, generous, possibly even sacrificial outpouring of love that Jesus described. And that speaks deeply to me of the way I interact with people in the small Welsh town where I live, and the bigger world where my more distant neighbours are struggling because of injustice, conflict, poverty, hunger, and so many other issues.

What does it mean to be a good neighbour? 

Show me Lord, how to love
my neighbour. Not the one
I get on really well with,
go for a drink and enjoy
time out with. Not the one
I see at church each week,
and sees the world as I do,
generally. Not the one
who lives along the street
with whom I share my thoughts
about the weather with.
Show me Lord, how to love
the neighbour I avoid, the one
I struggle with, whose views
and outlook on life I disagree
with, whose lifestyle seems
so different to mine. Show me
Lord, how, as you loved others,
including even one such as me,
so I can hold out these hands
of friendship and love to all
who in your eyes are neighbours,
your children, truly loved by you.

Two Seas

by Ana Lisa de Jong

In Aotearoa,
at the Northernmost tip,
two seas come to meet,
ragged at the edges,
their waves in full tilt,

pummeling with all
the strength
of twin bodies in
full momentum,

In Aotearoa
at the spindly tip
there is a lighthouse pointing
due North –
and East, South, West.

Although a lighthouse
doesn’t point.

It turns its light a beacon
in full view from each
And does not speak
but is clearly seen
for being bright, high,

In Aotearoa
the Pacific meets the Tasman,
and neither will give way.

Behind them an ocean
of weight,
a predisposition
to spread out
where there is no

But underneath the waves
are currents
and movements deep
that are older than the
naming of the seas.

And there are fish,
and whales,
and sea creatures
for which the seas are an
eco-system – a wide ocean.

And there are no lines
drawn in sand.
No belonging
to one body of water
over another.

Only blue, green,
and light shining
from above,
and underneath the ocean,
a well of silence.

Somehow like us
when all our angst
lays down,
and we remember
how we are tied
by tendrils older
than any reason for parting.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
June 2022

Cape Reinga is generally considered the separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. From the lighthouse it is possible to watch the tidal race, as the two seas clash to create unsettled waters just off the coast. The Māori refer to this as the meeting of Te Moana-a-Rehua, ‘the sea of Rehua’ with Te Tai-o-Whitirea, ‘the sea of Whitirea’, Rehua and Whitirea being a male and a female respectively, and a coming together to create life.
‘Although the Hasidim themselves do not use this analogy, the relationship of a wave to the ocean aptly captures the situation Hasidism says we are in. . . . Focus on yourself as a wave, and
you are increasingly frantic and worried. Focus on yourself as the ocean, and you find tranquility and peace of mind. . . . Hasidism tries to wake the wave up to being the ocean. Awakening to
your true nature is what it is to “place God before you always.” Everywhere you look you see God, not as an abstract spirit but as the True Being of all beings.’
~ Rami Shapiro, Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004, 2015), xxvii, xxviii, xxix, xxxii, xxxiv.
[From Richard Rohr Daily Meditation, God with us Always}
“The only thing we know for sure about Jesus are that he did not kill and he opposed violence of any kind. He rejected violence of both oppressor and oppressed. He taught a third way—active nonviolent resistance to evil. He urged his followers to love God, to love one’s self, to love one’s neighbors, and most radical of all, to love one’s enemies.”
~ John Dear
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
~ Micah 6:8
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
1 Cor 13:1

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