Saturday, 19 January 2013

If I Were...

If I were there as a photographer, I would try to capture that scene from different angles. I would pay attention to the artistic quality of that shot, stabilising my camera on a tripod.  I would take hundreds of shots, especially the closeup ones that focus on his anguished look, before choosing the best few that would serve to evoke the strongest emotion or thought in my viewers. In the end, I am pleased with my shot, at its overall effects. I sure am good in photography. 

If I were there as a painter, I would set my mounted canvas on my easel, park myself in front of that scene on a stool, and having chosen the best angle that best captures the moment, I would begin my eventual masterpiece. In the end, I would attach a price to it and sell it for a good return. I sure am good at what I do. 

If I were there as a musician, I would bring along my keyboard and compose a morbid sounding melody that would evoke the guilt and depression of the onlookers and passersby. It would definitely be in the minor key. I might then alter the mood of the music into one that is brighter, changing the minor into a major key, and bring about a shift in the moods of the listeners, manipulating their experience with my music. I sure am good at using music to influence others. 


It would be all too easy for us to approach the scene and do what we do best with whatever talents we may have. But what if the call is for us to approach this scene with a different identity? What if the call is for us to be there not as another passerby or bystander, indifferent or ignorant, but rather, as one for whom He hangs up there, as one whose sins have not caused Him to turn His back on us, as one whose eternal life has been purchased by His dying on that cross? 

Would our eyes still see the angles, the colours and the shapes of the clouds we need to replicate, the moods of the setting, or the notes that form a melody? Would our minds think of our viewers, our potential customers or our monetary returns, or perhaps, our listeners' responses? 

If not, then what would we see? What would we really begin to notice as we fix our eyes upon Him hanging there before us? What emotions would stir in our hearts if we were truly present there as humbled children of God, consistently being invited into that loving relationship with our Father, by our Father, who cannot ever bring Himself to give up on us? 

Do you see Him?
Do you truly see Him?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Channels of Grace

A father returns home after an exhausting day at the office. He is tired and just not in the mood. Period. He opens the door of his house and a chuckle sounds from the other side of the door and then... "Dad...dy...!!" A little toddler emerges from her little hideout behind the door and reaches out for daddy, almost missing a step. Immediately, the father is energised. He gives in to the warm welcome of this innocent child. He smiles, drops his bag, hugs his wife and picks up his little girl and starts swinging her up and down. 

In that moment, the realness of his tiredness and moodiness fades into a complete nonexistence. Suddenly, all his worries and stresses from work lose their hold of him, and he is totally uplifted again. From feeling desolated to consoled. And the evening went by. What would have otherwise been another inevitable miserable and gloomy night was transformed into one which was joyful, hopeful and heart-warming.

Have you ever had one of those days too which later unfolded into a totally contrasting experience? 

What are the things, who are the people who weigh you down, that cause that depressing blockage within you that prevents the river of life from springing forth from your heart?

Who are the people, what are the things which, in that encountering with, lift you up, put back that smile on your face, energise you, and leave you with a calm? 

What causes your daily ups and downs?

Our consolations are channels for God's graces; the source of strength we need to see us through our down moments, and far more than just seeing us through, they lift us out of those dreadful moments. It may be a child's chuckle, a gentle, cool breeze blowing upon our faces, a beautiful sunset, a favourite song, a friend's firm and gentle grip of our hands, a friend's presence, an afternoon of coffee and cakes with colleagues or just simply a good movie. 

Just as there are specific things and people who seem to always set us in desolation, so too are there those that move us into consolation. Sheila Linn in Sleeping with Bread wrote that we need to do more of the things that give us life. Amidst the many things we do everyday, we need to deliberately choose to dedicate more time to the things that are life-giving for it is from these that we can draw strength and energy.

However, before we can make discerned choices everyday and in every waking moment, we need first to arrive at a deeper awareness of who we are as a unique person with different consolations and desolations, allowing these inner movements (the consolations and desolations) to enter into our consciousness and speak God's Will to us. 

So... What caused your up moments and down moments today?

Prayer - Bearing Your Trademark

My dear Jesus,

Sometimes, when I face the demands, expectations and unjust treatments thrown at me, I cringe in depression and wonder where You may be hiding in all these. I forget all too often that You are with me and with You, no giant can oppress me. 

Move my heart and influence my reaction towards all that I find tough accepting, and help me to believe that Your love and grace are enough for me, especially in those most difficult moments when Your glory shall shine through my life ever more brilliantly as Your strength and power lift up the weak person that I am from my helplessness.

In Your loving embrace, hold me secure and comfort me, as I in turn share Your love with others. May my life this day bear Your trademark of the cross of love.