August 27, 2013

Thoughts in the Shower: State of Grace

The counterpart to shame is not pride, it is grace (I think). To live in a state of grace rather than being ashamed of where we find ourselves. The struggle and the tension is when I recognize that there are things I don't want to feel shame about anymore and then wonder if substituting that state for one of which I can be proud creates an even more insidious problem.

There are states of being where a feeling of shame might be a proper response and wanting to transition out of that place is appropriate. When I mistake this urge for pride & and work to temper it, perhaps I do myself a disservice.

The counterpart to pride is not shame, it is humility. It is not that we should not strive for or have things about which we can be proud, it is that we should be humble about them. And be gracious. And grateful.

And if you find yourself in a place where shame seems to prevail, I pray that you are surrounded by grace and love to see you through.

Grace & peace,


February 19, 2011

This Is Not Our Home: A Benediction


This is not our home.
Do you remember?

And yet we run into these fleeting moments of profound beauty.
Do you know what I'm talking about?

That indescribably gorgeous sunset;
That performance at the symphony or
That rendition of the spiritual - that was so beautiful it brought tears to your eyes.

These moments shine a light in our darkness,
to remind us of and make us long for our true home.

"And yet they are not the thing itself;
they are only the scent of a flower we have not found,
the echo of a tune we have not heard,
news from a country we have never yet visited."

You all have a spark of heaven within you.
Will you let that spark grow and in so doing
become, yourself, a reminder to the world around you
that this is not our true home.

That it is but a shadow that becomes a truer reflection
as we bring God's kingdom here on earth.

"You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and
put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven"

Go in peace

This benediction was given at the 11:00 a.m. Service at Ecclesia, Houston on Sunday Feb. 13, 2011.

On the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 16, my friend & our Sister-in-Christ, Sarah Chidgey-Hughes went home to be with the Lord. She is now in her true home an in her true incorruptible body. Her service is this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and will be streamed live online.

Sarah & Eric (Aug. 15, 2010)

Please keep her husband Eric as well as her mom, dad & sister in your prayers.

Grace & peace,


* - C.S. Lewis (from "'The Weight of Glory" - The Weight of Glory)
** - Matthew 5:14-16

December 24, 2010

"Teach us how to love each other ..."

God is With Us from Living Water International on Vimeo.

March 31, 2010

Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Station of the Cross #11

Station 11: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left. - Luke 23:33 (NIV)

Have you ever stood in shower for a long time letting the water pour over you just waiting to feel "clean" again? Waiting for pain or hurt to wash away? Somewhere in that place, our brokeness cries out to be made whole again - to be restored to life.

Water, Blood & Grace
In the story of our redemption, blood and water are significant elements in atonement and purification. We find it in the rituals of the Old Testament and we find it in the sacraments of the New. We are baptised into into His death and through this baptism, raised to life in Him. There is a mingling of the two. Water representing blood, blood playing the role of the water.

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." [1]

"Since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." [2]

Are we willing, as we continue on this journey to accept the grace that we are offered? It is offered freely to us but it was not without cost. It is the costliest gift ever and this is the price that was paid for it.

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." [3]

There is a sketch pad and a charcoal pencil as part of this piece. You can trace the outline of your hand on a sheet from the pad and then push it on the nail above the pad. It is a way for us to, perhaps, count ourselves among one of those for whose transgressions He was pierced. An acknowledgement of the great cost that was the price of this grace. My prayer is that in this outward act, we accept inside of us this grace and that it brings purity, peace and healing into our lives in a new way.

1. Matthew 26:28
2. Hebrews 10:21-22
3. Isaiah 53:5


The photo above is a composite of the prints in my installation, along with the Artist's Statement that is displayed with the piece. A photo of the actual installation is shown below.

Station 11 Installation

January 30, 2010

A Lament for Haiti

"We cannot Wait.
We've seen mothers bury sons.
And we're begging You to come.
When the poor are thrown aside,
The sick are left to die,
We need Your grace oh God.
God come.
Your Kingdom come."

Music by The Robbie Seay Band.

Courtesy of The Work of the People.

December 20, 2009

Christmas [is] changing the world.

Christmas [is] changing the world from Living Water International on Vimeo.

December 15, 2009

Advent Conspiracy 2009

Just in case you somehow haven't seen this yet :-)

You can find out more about the Advent Conspiracy on the [AC] website.

Also, for a limited time I will be donating a portion of proceeds from sales of my photographic prints to Living Water Intl. as part of the Advent Conspiracy. Details are on my photography website.

December 2, 2009

"I Stand by the Door"

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world-
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.
There's no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind people,
With outstretched, groping hands.
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it ...
So I stand by the door.
The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for people to find that door--the door to God.
The most important thing any person can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch--the latch that only clicks
And opens to the person's own touch.
People die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter--
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it--live because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him ...
So I stand by the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in--
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics--
It is a vast roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms.
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture in a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening ...
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out. "Let me out!" they cry,
And the people way inside only terrify, them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much:
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving--preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not, yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God,
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door--
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But--more important for me--
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
"I had rather be a door-keeper ..."
So I stand by the door.

I Stand by the Door
by Sam Shoemaker

Sam Shoemaker, founder of Faith At Work at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City, in 1926, was also one of the spiritual leaders who helped draft the 12 Steps of A.A.

Obtained from the Faith at Work website.