Ohh how good it feels to get to writing again. It is like meeting up with an old friend who is so welcoming and yet patient to sit with me and hear all my news even before they have said a word!!
Sitting on my bed in my bedroom has always been a thing for me. And now it is enforced to stay at home with the current lock down due to a virus that is highly contagious and extremely dangerous in our world. For an introvert it is less a trial then for many but still you know it means a freedom of going to normal places is no longer mine. When I started writing this it was Friday pay day and there was nowhere to go. I like op shops.. Coffee.. Art stores. Visiting my children or doing things with them. Not doing those things does feel very strange.
So writing for me and art for me is a beautiful escape that I am freer today to take but also a way to communicate and find my flow. It is also very spiritual to me and a way to talk about my faith and share how it helps me.
This writing today is based on an ebook I recently bought on sale called “Illuminating the way embracing the wisdom of Monks and Mystics” by Christine Valters Paintner.
Only a couple of dollars on sale I bought a few of her books! The saint that inspired my writing today is Francis of Assisi.. The heading of the chapter says 1. Francis of Assisi: The Fool. Where I got my title for this blog post. Foolishness part. Im not going to go into the story so much of who he was and his life calling but he does stand out to me because he did things differently and lived a quite radical life and very differently to how the church of his day conducted themselves.
In his own words.. “I do not want to hear any mention of the rule of St Augistine, of St Bernard, or St Bendadict. The Lord has told me that he wanted to make a new fool of me.” He lived in a way that seemed foolish to the way of the world.
One of the quotes I highlighted
“To be an outcast means that we don’t align ourselves with the dominant way of thinking.
Francis was a man who loved living on the ‘edges of things. Rejecting power, prestige, and wealth, he found freedom and joy in the simplicity of his path. Walking away from security he found new purpose. He demanded we look at the world differently. Seeing that everything in our lives is alive with sacred presence all we need is to see things anew.
He preached to men and to creatures.. Spoke of a new way to follow the gospel. He was drawn to those living on the margins, the poor and destitute and was unafraid to touch the untouchables.
Another quote from the book.. “The Russian church has a special name for saints who are regarded as holy fools: yurodivi. These are the wild souls who wittness to other possibilities.
Bible says. “We are fools for the sake of Christ” Cor 4:10
I choose to worship God differently and it does look foolish when you do things differently. Seek God differently and do things in a different way to the majority. You can appear to be an outcast and I have been treated that way and I do get that to an extent. So I identify with Francis in some ways. One needs to learn humility to walk different paths because you will stand out and be called out for it and people have stayed away from me. I have found it testing not to criticize others for their choices but stick to my path and walk it with as pure a heart as possible. I don’t always want to be defending my path or speaking in such a way that offends others but I cannot stand still and feel shame or frustrated because then I go nowhere and you can wander in the wilderness feeling that outcast status instead of saying God here I am which way now. Teach me and use me here as I am for the greater cause no matter that it has cost me to be different. To be misunderstood. To walk a path before You that isn’t the same as majority. Help me to walk upright and unafraid and with courage and love.. With my heart focused on YOU and peace and living that out despite others around me thinking I am lost, rebellious and hard hearted.. Help me to believe that there is a greater purpose and what may seem foolish to many actually can be intensely holy and beautiful and precious.
I created a mandala.
Named it Holy Foolishness.
Which the book encouraged. My focus on thinking about Francis of Assisi what I knew his life to be like, what had risen in my heart/spirit as I read the chapter. My own playfulness. Freedom that we all have before God.. As the scripture says. Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. We have freedom.
There is a fear involved with creativity. Feel selfish. Frivolous. There are those that see things like this lead to evil practices that do not lead to God but away. Open doors to other forces all sorts of things like this. To me I do not want fear to rule me or keep me from enjoying things that make me happy and from looking up because I do look up doing art and creativity. To me I tried not to think too much and just let my spirit be free.. Whatever colors came to me and it looks like a shield to me.. Faith shield thing.
I use an ap on my phone to create it. Now I am going to see what meaning I can gather from what I created because I did it freely and without thinking.. just flowed with it. But I love that what I find through simple art can have such profound and deep meanings!!!
I started with dark blue and purple. Dark blue for spirit and purple for honoring Gods kingdom and His rule over the earth as highest authority. Dark green for earth and life of mankind. Various browns for humility, earth, humanity, life, earth creates life. Then I went to pink which I consider represents creative spirit and I started to bring that in from the edges. I didn’t learn creativity through religious teachings but from outside artists and art in general and since I have walked this creative journey I am hearing now churches have artists in church doing art while the preacher preaches that is pretty cool.. Creative Spirit has brought me out of myself and made me have to think of why I do this.. What it means to me and what God is doing despite difficulties.. It has caused me to value beauty and truth and made me focus on God within and gifts HE has given to the world and especially me which makes it all the more personal.
When you no longer follow a certain way of doing things and step away from it.. Everything changes. I mean suddenly you are not relying on that. So this art is making me think of God in a whole different way such as I have had to do when I was not worshiping every Sunday the way the mass does.
The pink became hot pink, hot pink to me is pink, red and purple combined pink creativity, red blood carries life and Jesus blood purifies us, purple Kingdom.. all combined.. its wonderfully bright and stands out to me and gave the centre of my mandala like a power punch and its a great feeling to be alive and thriving and happy and that flows from the centre of being or spirit.. Source of beauty and brightness and spiritual richness and it just blossoms and from out of the abundance of the heart it touches and transforms everything.. God always, always, always centre of my life and what I see life in general to be. Because of Him who is the master creative. I create. I enjoy. It makes even the deaf find a way to communicate..
I access His Spirit which is one with my spirit within me as the kingdom of heaven is within so I guess that kind of explains why when I worship in spirit and truth that I do not miss the physical aspects of how I used to worship. I mean the Kingdom of God is within so every person today who is NOT in the building are all joined together in spirit all over the world and that will never change wherever they are doing their thing. I am part of that. My mandala exercise encourages me that no matter how ‘general minds of mankind come together at any time ’ the truth of it is He is creator of life and He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He created us and His Son came so that all of us could know the truth and be a part of it.
I mean Francis of Assisi might not have been looked a part when he lived as he lived different to the way the church conducted themselves in his day yet He was a great well loved saint of God and is our brother through Christ.
I do not have to fear evil or being evil because God is the centre of my being. The corner stone of the church and our salvation. There has been fear that someone who works differently or walks differently has not the spirit of God.. But God does not look at the outward but He looks at the heart at the core of a persons being. When JESUS came to earth HE is the head of body and He himself did many things different to the way the religious leaders were and He was crucified for it. Thankfully though being Gods son he saved us from ever being rejected again because he was rejected for us.
We are all apart of that body now because of Jesus. My Mandala exercise began with the Holy Spirit dark blue at the beginning of time brooding over the waters, I acknowledged the Kingdom of GOD as the one that reigns and everything else good comes from that and stems from that. I see beauty and purpose, and identity and all is connected through JESUS who is the Christ. That is what I see in this creative exercise and I believe Francis of Assisi went forth from that same Holy Spirit and lived the way he lived because He drew his power from God and was not afraid to be even foolish to the world but to those whom he ministered too they saw Gods likeness in him. So I name it Holy Foolishness because to some it will appear that way but not to all who walk in freedom and live unto God not just living via the order of the day. Father God said there would come a day when people lived by Spirit and truth and that is what He seeks.
I think as I sit here on a Sunday that God is with me. I am thinking on Him and I am going to share my thoughts. I am considered perhaps different because I am not in a building or watching a video produced by a building of people for a time on earth when even church buildings have closed their doors but I hope that our ideas and constrictions of what is of God are magnified and blown apart and our thinking might be expanded in this time of physical isolation for the Holy Spirit is NEVER restricted and connects us all because He is eternal and lives beyond human fragilities and works in us even despite what is considered foolishness. I think the building is us where we humans are and as we are and there has never been a greater time then this for the walls to come down and Gods mighty power through us to bring heaven to earth. How much more right now do we globally need that power at work in us weaving us together strong and beautiful, human and holy and as one people under God!