Merry Christmas to you and yours;
May you experience genuine peace … despite your circumstances … this Christmas and all through the new year as you begin to truly realize God’s amazing love shown through his son, Jesus.
My Exhibit includes photos while on my first “Chasing Francis” Spirit Venture in 2012 with photos from Assisi, Rome and Florence. It is at the RoxyAnn Winery in Medford, Oregon. Come on by for a glass of Cabernet Franc:)
If you are interested in joining us we will be going again next spring during the last couple of weeks in March. Pax et Bonum
We are killing our planet! Our oceans are a prime example. I am becoming more aware of how detrimental plastic is to our environment. And I will be the first to confess that I too have been guilty. Did you know that over 200 billion pounds of plastic are produced worldwide each year and that only 4 to 7 % is actually recycled. Plastic pollution now affects at least 267 species worldwide. These are photos of pollution that has washed ashore:
100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die yearly from entanglement. There are estimates that marine debris kills 1 million seabirds a year. 80% of marine debris comes from land via street storm drains, waterways, and rivers that eventually empty into the ocean. Apparently we Americans use approximately 1 billion disposable shopping bags that create 300,000 tons of waste each year. Fish and birds confuse the debris for food. Plastic has moved into the food chain! Plastic is not biodegradable. It eventually breaks down to the size of plankton.
Fish bites can be seen from marine animals mistaking the plastic for food. This can be deadly by blocking their digestive tracts and reducing their ability to absorb nutrients. In addition plastics contain contaminants … a toxic meal. Scientists on research boats mid-ocean have opened fresh caught fish and found pieces of plastic in their stomachs.
An ocean gyre (jahyur) is a large, slow spinning vortex of ocean currents caused by trade winds. There are five major gyres in the world’s oceans pulling plastic garbage from every continent and churning it into bite-size pieces for sea life. It is estimated that 11 million tons of plastic ride the North Pacific Gyre between Asia and North America eventually washing ashore on beaches or breaking down to microscopic pieces.
When we were on our annual spring trek to Bandon by the Sea in Oregon earlier this year we became aware of the Washed Ashore Project. All this information is from their exhibit in Bandon and their website.
Artist and director Angela Haseltine Pozzi leads the Washed Ashore community in creating large-scale sculptures of the very sea life that is threatened by the marine debris. Communities, schools, and state parks gather the debris off of the beaches. They are then washed, sorted, drilled, cut and processed into art supplies. Only re-purposed plastic debris found on beaches are used in Washed Ashore art.
The Project has impacted the lives of over 1 million spectators. The exhibit features massive sculptures.
100’s of volunteers have processed over 4 tons of plastic pollution into art supplies. Washed Ashore’s traveling educational exhibit of sculptures continues to spread the message internationally. Activity/Action Books and Curriculum based on Washed Ashore’s Marine Debris Awareness Program can be ordered through their website.
Use less plastic. Bring your own water bottle and mug with you. Use cloth or canvas grocery bags. Buy in bulk. Refill containers. Reduce and re-use whenever possible. Recycle. Contact Washed Ashore to start a Satellite Project in your community. Each one of us can make a difference.
“Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature …” (Gen. 1:28).
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8)
Bearing in mind that ruling requires constant care and wisdom let us each do our part to help preserve our planet … God’s creation.
Yesterday I inadvertently sent my post “Art for Life” to my Life, etc. blog rather than Franciscus Meus where this series Do you like a Mystery? has been unfolding. This story could easily fit in either, but due to St. Francis’s love and concern for all living creatures and our precious planet I chose FM. I will therefore place the last post with The Rest of the Story on both blogs because I believe so strongly in it’s message.
After God created man (male and female) in his own image … “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” (Gen. 1:28-29)
With this gift came also a heavy responsibility. “Subdueing and ruling” require constant care and wisdom. St. Francis of Assisi is likely the Patron saint of those who care for nature. Perhaps the first environmentalist and ecologist showing us how to live on this earth in a way that respects and honors nature as God’s creation.
So, the question … What do these photos have to do with our responsibility to care for what God has so generously given us? The answer will amaze you.
After Jesus identifies Judas as the betrayer and sends him out he addresses his disciples:
“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn. 13: 31-35)
This is painting I noticed walking through the Vatican Museum last year while “Chasing Francis of Assisi”. It caught my attention because I thought Pedro Cano was able to create the heart felt emotion of a loving embrace between two men, Pope Paul II and Cardinal Wyszynski.
I came from a family that never hugged or outwardly showed loving affection. But with time well spent around my wife’s family and in our “Christian family” circle I have come to truly appreciate a hug. We all need to be valued and accepted as we are. And I believe that we as individuals are beginning to love one another … no matter what church we are attending … nondenominational, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Franciscan ….
But what about our various church denominations and their leadership? Are our churches really exhibiting the love of Christ? Does the “world” know the collective “body of Christ” by the love we have for one another? Are we working together in our communities to help the poor, feed the hungry, and house our homeless?? Could we not accomplish so much more for Jesus by working together?
Jesus is alive! “Peace be with you.”
Let us break bread together.
And love one another. “The most excellent way.”
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13)
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
“This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable friend,
Whose love is as great as his power,
And neither knows measure nor end.” Joseph Hart (1712-1768)
How can we understand such a deep, infinite, compelling, and transforming love? I can not but only begin to comprehend it in the very same love He has lavished on me through my family and friends. Thank you for your Living Word … may my will be washed in submission … yielding and rejoicing in Heaven’s best for the sake of others and for the glory of your name. Amen
Have a blessed Easter.
After his ‘triumphal entry’ to Jerusalem seated on a donkey’s colt Jesus predicts his death.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said and angel had spoken to him.” John 12: 23-29
Now Jesus and his chosen few withdraw to an upper room in Jerusalem to partake in the Passover Feast. Here he institutes the “Memorial” of the Eucharist:
“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way , after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Mt.26: 26-29, Mk.14: 22-25, Lk.22: 17-20.
He then makes hints of being betrayed by one of them at the table and they question each other who it might be.
It seems absurd, amidst this setting, but it is presumed due to Jesus’ indication that the coming of his ‘kingdom’ is imminent, some of the apostles begin to discuss which of them is the greatest. How can this be? After walking with Jesus throughout his ministry, listening to his teaching regarding the nature of this ‘kingdom’, how can they not understand?
Of course, now, this is so easy from my current perspective. I am not being persecuted under the power of the Roman Empire longing for a new ‘earthly kingdom.’ So what does Jesus do? He begins to wash the feet of his disciples.
“A dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be the greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Lk.22: 24-30
“Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
“He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.”
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” Jn.13: 1-17
I can only wonder how long before the disciples fully discerned the incredible intensity of Jesus’ love for them and the nature of his humility toward them. He, their Lord and Teacher stooped to serve their needs, and they (we) should do the same for one another. This example of humility in servanthood is what we “followers of Jesus” are to show one another. I find this very convicting. Our western culture is so ‘me first’ oriented that I will truly need an extra measure of grace to not walk in the path of least resistance.
The sovereignty of Christ from the cross is a new sovereignty. It has destroyed forever the formula that might is right. It has put to shame the self-assertion of false heroism. It has surrounded with imperishable dignity the completeness of sacrifice. It has made clear to the pure heart that the prerogative of authority is wider service. The divine King rules forever by dying. Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901)
My dear Jesus, Lord and Teacher, this example of humility and service … preceding the ultimate humiliation of the “Way of Suffering” …. crucified for all humanity … Even though you possessed the very nature of God, you claimed nothing for Your own advantage but emptied yourself taking the form of a slave. Thank you for coming to serve and giving your life as a ransom for many. I fear that I am too self-centered and selfish. Help me to become more like you. Show me how to humbly wash the feet of my brothers and sisters, bringing glory to the Son of Man. Amen
Best laid plans …
My original intent was to post a photo everyday while in Assisi and Rome. However that was not meant to be. Perhaps it was for the best, though … since Father ‘does’ know best. Not being able to ‘send’ from my MacBook enabled me to “let go” of the burden to blog daily and just take in the whole adventure and capture more in the camera.
Despite about 10 hours now of patient and expert help from the Apple team I am still not able to ‘send’ from my MacBook, but am remaining patient. More help is on the way:)
I have been posting ‘Animoto’ shows on my Facebook page. This is my first post here on “Franciscus Meus” since our fabulous ‘pilgrimage’ to Assisi.
This photo is a ‘close-up’ from a copy of the crucifix/cross that originally “spoke” to Francis in the church of San Damiano. This copy is found in the Chiesa Nuova (New Church) built in 1615 and is located at the location of St. Francis’s home.
I can truly understand why Francis was moved by this cross of Jesus. I blurred all but his face in this photo that you, too would be moved by his face. As I study his eyes I sense a deep compassion and love, and a longing for me to let Him to be my “all that matters.”
He seems to be asking, “Who do you say that I am?”
Outside are two statues of his mother and father, holding the chains by which his father held him prisoner, attempting to hold him back from following Lady Poverty. But his mother released him. In this case mother knew best.
Inside the church you can view the dungeon where Francis was held prisoner. There are beautiful paintings of early Franciscan themes. There is a stairway that leads down to what used to be a workshop and now shows a copy of the crucifix, some excellent art of St. Francis and St. Clare and a wonderful stained glass window. It is indeed a perfect place to spend some time with the One who yearns to be my “all that matters.”