faith

Rooted

Rooted.

At the end of last year, the painting “Rooted” had found a new home. This week, I finally had the opportunity to see it in its new context and frame. By this I mean not only the spatial frame but also the picture frame. The owners happened to have this beautiful old frame that matched the picture and now it shines in new splendour in a place of honor in their reading and video room.

Rooted Acrylic Painting - SOLD
Rooted Acrylic Painting – SOLD

Rooted – fitting for Good Friday

The picture “Rooted” is very fitting for today. Today is Good Friday and we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross at Golgotha. His sacrifice on the cross enables us to receive forgiveness for our sins and reconciliation with the Almighty God. Jesus’ willingness to be treated as a felon is described in the Philippians’ letter:

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names. (Phil 2:6-9 NLT)

Out of love for us, Jesus went the not at all easy way into death and into the distance from God. He himself compared this in advance with a grain of wheat:

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. (Jn 12:24 NLT)

Jesus died to bear fruit. We are this fruit. Those who follow Jesus and live rooted in Him are thus part of this fruit and contribute to Jesus’ joy.

Rooted – A Reason for Joy

The anticipation of these effects helped him to endure when he was confronted with suffering, contempt, shame and injustice.

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebr 12:2 NLT)

Finally, a last quotation from Isaiah, where Jesus’ death was predicted in a prophetic word:

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all. (Is 53:4-6 NLT)

Jesus’ sufferings and death on the cross, sad and terrible as they are, eventually became a source of joy and peace for him and for us. He died so we could have peace with God. In this sense, I wish you all, HAPPY EASTER!

Steps of Faith in a Storm – Poem

Steps of Faith in a Storm – Poem

I wrote the poem “Steps of Faith in a Storm” in a very difficult time, when people whom I trusted harassed and hurt me deeply. It’s my first attempt of translating a German poem into English.

Steps of Faith in a Storm

Spilling breaking waves waves waves waves waves
storm storm storm
fooooog

The boat sways on high sea
I stand uncertainly on my legs
powerless against the powers
powerless

I stare at the shape in the fog
and a gentle voice in me calls:
Come! Trust me!
Come!

I inhale deeply
I want to dare the leap
and let go of the edge of the boat
I step on the water…

I forgive my enemies
pray for those, who persecute me
and don’t take revenge

I step on the water
and the water carries me
the water carries me
hopefully for a long time!?!

And if not
I will try it tomorrow again.

*

Spilling breaking waves waves waves waves waves
storm storm storm
fooooog

The boat sways on high sea
I stand uncertainly on my legs
powerless against the powers
powerless

I stare at the shape in the fog
and a gentle voice in me calls:
Come! Trust me!
Come!

I inhale deeply
I want to dare the leap
and let go of the edge of the boat
I step on the water…

I forgive my brothers and sisters who wrong me
I pray for those, who hurt me
and I don’t lash out at them

I step on the water
and the water carries me
the water carries me
for a loooooong time!

*

Glaubensschritt * Steps of Faith
Glaubensschritt * Steps of Faith

I had painted the picture that meshes with the poem “Steps of Faith in the Storm” more than one year before that. Originally, for me it referred to the steps of faith that I take by trusting God and following his guidance.

I wrote the poem, when I discovered a new dimension of steps of faith – when I am unfairly treated and harassed, to not insist on my right, defend myself or strike back, but let go and trust that God is above it all and can turn things around for good.

That is what happened in the specific situation, during which I suffered a lot and felt helpless at the mercy of some higher powers. In the end, God turned the situation around and changed it into blessings.

Rooted – Acrylic Painting

Rooted – Acrylic Painting

This acrylic painting was some time in the making. I started it during the art conference at the beginning of August, but was not satisfied with the background. This week I finally finished it, only two days before the opening of my exhibition. The day before the exhibition I still needed to frame it, and while I was still struggling to lock the back cover of the frame, I tore my back. Ouch! Not a good thing on the day you want to hang the 40+ paintings for an exhibition. Fortunately, I had help from friends and together we were able to put all paintings up, ready for the opening.

The painting shows a vine with leaves and bunches of grapes, sitting on and rooted in a big red cross that lies on the ground in between tufts of grass. The background is full of light like during a sunrise.

Verwurzelt Acryl Malerei
Verwurzelt Acryl Malerei

Different people have different roots, different foundations, different priorities. My priority is to be deeply rooted in the person who is symbolized by the cross and calls himself the “true vine” – Jesus:

I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

His presence in my life caused the healing, liberation and inspiration that I have experienced and that enabled me to be an artist.

Who Stands Fast?

Who stands fast?

Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God—the responsible man, who tried to make his whole life an answer to the call of God.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Read the whole article in Bonhoeffer Stood Fast | Christianity Today