Woman Untied


On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.


No Secret Disciples/Academy Chorus


Sunday morning^

Mike, our pulpit minister has been preaching about the life of Jesus from the Gospels for well over two years now–it has been a wonderful series. Today the scripture text was from John 19 and Mark 15, concerning Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two members of the Sanhedrin, who come asking Pilate for the body of Jesus, after his death on the cross. We don’t know much about Joseph, but the Gospel of John gives us a bit of information on Nicodemus and how he originally came to Jesus at night. He later defends Jesus (sort of) when the ruling council wanted to bring Jesus in for his teachings (John 7), to the point that both men risk the wrath of their own professional associations, to give the Christ a proper burial. You cannot be a secret disciple of Jesus.


Sunday evening^

You may or may not have noticed, but these two sets of notes are in pencil. Generally, I do not care for pencil/graphite drawings in my sketchbooks because it smears so badly. But my pen ran out of ink and I resorted to the golf pencils that are kept in the pews next to the attendance cards. They do give a nice variety of gray tones not possible with ink pens, but I’ll be back to cross hatching next week.

The second drawing isn’t technically sermon notes. This past Sunday evening, the Harding Academy Chorus came and sang for us. Give me Jesus was one of the songs they performed. It inspired me. Music, art and literature are three wondrous gifts that God has given humanity.


Loved Much/Forgiven Much


Luke 7:36-50 (NIV)

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.

Jesus answered him, Simon, I have something to tell you.

Tell me, teacher, he said.

Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?

Simon replied, I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.

You have judged correctly, Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.

The other guests began to say among themselves, Who is this who even forgives sins?

Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

Sermon Notes- a new series

Sunday, March 27, 2011 AM services.
Two Thieves Separated By a Cross

Since I have drawn in Church my whole life. I thought I would start posting the notes that I take during sermons. There are usually two per week, but if I am not feeling inspired (or preaching myself) then that one will be missing. My plans are to keep my comments to a minimum and just let you see the work. I limit myself to the time the sermon is actually being preached. Once it is over, I stop drawing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011, PM service
Contemplating Our Life After Dead

Sunday, April 4, 2011, AM services.

I must say a little about this one. Mike Ireland is our pulpit minister and he discussed these common theories on “atonement.” All of them have something good–none of them are perfectly complete, because God’s atonement through Jesus the Christ is too vast for us to comprehend totally. That is why the drawing begins with the word bursting out of the limits of the page.

Sunday, April 4, 2011, PM services
Living Like it Happened

Queenstown Hill Trail


There was a fable once told to me about a man and his wife. Day after day she complained about how small her house was. Finally the man grew tired of her complaining and brought in the chickens to live in the house. She still complained for adding chickens didn’t help. After a few days, the man brought the pig in to live with them along side the chickens. This exasperated the wife and her complaints grew louder still. About a week later, the man brought in the cow to join the pig and chickens. A week later he brought the horse in to live with the others. All the while, the woman’s complaints continued.

One day the man got up and removed all the animals from the house. As the silence drifted down on the interior of the house, his wife exclaimed, “I never noticed how much room we had until now.”

Once my piles of grading moved from the unfinished to finished piles yesterday, I suddenly was at loose ends. The three hours until bedtime seemed unending with nothing to keep me occupied. I realized that even though I still had the same number of hours in the day, what fills them makes all the difference. Today I got to hike up Queenstown Hill Hiking Trail …and draw!

The last blog had a photo of the drawing above. (Yes, there are para-gliders in the sky.) No offense to photographers, but nothing helps me to own a piece of what I see the way tracing their contours onto a paper surface with pen or pencil. Sometimes I strongly agree with the philosopher, R. G. Collingwood, when he said that the apparent work of art is just that--a work. Art proper happens in the mind. The work of art (artwork) is to recall to the mind the meaning intended. As I draw on paper, the shapes, textures, colors, values, smells, sounds--even the feeling of the wind blowing against my skin are all indelibly etched in my mind and on my soul. The paper is a vehicle of memory for me, and a vehicle of transport to help you as a viewer to reconstruct, however imperfectly, the majesty or simple charms of God’s creations in your mind.

The hike was strenuous. My muscles burned and lungs heaved to suck in as much air as I could hold. I wove from sunlit gravel paths into dark pine covered corridors with little light and thick blankets of needles underfoot. Then suddenly the path turned sharply to the left and began another steep climb up hill. Within a hundred yards the path rose up out of the trees to the bare rock and tussock of the “hill” summit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t live in an area where hills have tree lines. At the very top of this trail, there is a sculpture by Caroline Robinson dedicated to the Maori people. It is called Basket of Dreams. It sits on an outcropping of shale-like rock. When you come upon it, you are literally walking up to it. All around you see the peaks of the Remarkables Mountain range, and below Lake Wakatipu in the far distance. I was so far up that all traces of human settlement had vanished from site.


The best way to remember the site was by sitting on the rock outcropping below the monument of coiled steel bars and look up at it offering its form to the sky. Not that many people get to see it in person. I witnessed it on a warm spring day with the sun shining down on the last of the snowdrifts clinging to the peaks of the neighboring mountains. It was a special time. Still. Just being--with no loose ends.

Fleetingly, I regretted not bringing my camera--but then I thought that I would spend more time trying to capture the magnificence of this place and miss this place. Drawing once again helped fix the experience within me--not 100s of shots that stay “out there.” Just as the murals in the chapel at the Village of Hope, the only way to truly experience this is to travel to this place. I’ve sealed it in my memory--the proper place for such things.