Sunday, April 17, 2022

He is risen!

on Easter Sunday: 

"Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!"

 Charles Wesley (1739)


Easter lilies

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Holy Saturday

"Now is the Lord brought to peace

    My Jesus, goodnight!

The trouble is over, which our sins caused for him.

    My Jesus, goodnight!

O sacred bones,

See how I weep for you with penance and remorse

That my fall has brought you into such distress!

    My Jesus, goodnight!

As long as life lasts

Have a thousand thanks for your sufferings

For having valued so highly the salvation of my soul

    My Jesus, goodnight!"

 

from J.S.Bach, St. Matthew's Passion BWV244, No. 67, libretto by C.F.Henrici (Picander), 1729. 









Friday, April 15, 2022

Thoughts on Good Friday

A thought on this one day of the year on which we contemplate Jesus' death, and not His resurrection...

Despite -- or perhaps, because of -- all the attending pain, uncertainty, and even conflict that the journey entailed, I never felt more spiritually attentive than when I faced and experienced the death of my father and my mother. That was over ten years ago.

I wonder if Jesus experienced something similar as he faced his own death... a heightened intimacy and spiritual attunement in the presence of the Holy Ghost and the will of the Father,

   so much so, that his agonizing prayers in the Garden of Gesthemane entailed not just sweat but blood;

   so much so that on the night before Golgotha he could pray "not my will but Yours", despite the wrathful, absolute separation from the presence of God that he was about to experience;

   so much so, that he could care for his mother, his disciples, even his tormentors as he himself bled to death.

I wonder if I too could be just as attuned to the will of God when my time comes -- a certain death that could arrive tomorrow, even tonight.

O God, is it selfish of me to pray that you would spare me and let me live even just one day longer, so that I too would be so attuned to your Spirit and your will?

   Lord, have mercy.
   Christ, have mercy.
   Lord, have mercy.

 

a wooden cross from Ethiopia

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Hot Cross Buns... and a Maundy Thursday reflection

 

 
Maundy Thursday is a day to meditate on the last supper and the washing of the disciples' feet... events in which Jesus models for us the practice of hospitality.

Today my wife and I attended a Celebration of Life service of a long-time family friend -- a widow and mother of three adult children. She passed away just over ten days ago on a cloudy Sunday morning, to be in Jesus' presence.

Yesterday, we received in the mail a card that she wrote to us just days before her death.

She had filled the entire inside surface of the card, her small handwritten pen marks visibly shaky, a testimony to her failing strength. Her words of gratitude, blessing, resolve, and hope brought tears to our eyes. I hope that I too could face my final days this way -- with words of thanksgiving and encouragement to those who will be left grieving. 

By her actions, even into her final hours, she showed a willingness to practice hospitality; she created a place and a space in which we were invited and felt welcome to receive grace.

We received gracious other treats today, from others with a great sense of hospitality; a neighbour and a friend both baked hot cross buns for us. To receive these gifts was an incredible reminder that these small acts of hospitality really matter -- that in fact they are not small at all. 

Washing the feet of guests and enjoying a meal together were not in themselves extraordinary actions. Yet they were recorded in the Gospels; they changed the course of history.

I am grateful for the encouragement that I have received throughout today by the words and actions of others who sustain us and give us hope, and in turn give us the strength to be gracious to others in an often hostile world.

May the Spirit of God be with us as we remember Jesus' death and resurrection in the coming days.

Amen

Monday, April 11, 2022

a Palm Sunday prayer


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On this Palm Sunday... 
 
I pray that the raging war within my heart
 
    Fueled by
            Suspicion
            Vengefulness
            Greed
            Pride
            Misinformation
            Tribalism
            Individualism
            Consumerism
            Jealousy
            Self-loathing
            Narcissism
            Lust
            Uncertainty
            Complicity
            Regret
            Impatience,
 
    Wanes and cedes
        as we welcome
           The Prince of Peace
 
    Whose gentle and triumphant entry
        Signals to us,
                Once and for all
                Yet again
        Another Way of living.
 
Hosanna in the highest!

 

Friday, January 7, 2022

Triptych

A drawing triptych finished over the Christmas break, based on some recent panel designs for a church that wanted to reuse a pile of salvaged cedar planks. The intent was to evoke reflection on the Gospel story with opportunity for multiple interpretation, within a language unique to the material at hand, and easily assembled by the congregation. 

From left to right: 

"The Incarnation",  "The Cross", and "Priesthood".


 

A second triptych -- variations on the cross -- entitled "Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus".

Monday, January 3, 2022

Third Dose...

 Fifteen minutes to kill as we wait... 



Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Christmas...

It's our turn to host a Christmas supper, and another 25 pound turkey comes out of the oven successfully, much to our relief. Meanwhile the kids enjoy some precious time with some cousins.

 


Friday, December 24, 2021

organic vegetables

Various goodies are delivered to the office at this time of year, usually taking the form of chocolates, cookies, or bottles of wine. One of this year's unique gifts included a generous bag of organic vegetables from Peas on Earth via Bountiful Market, given to us by a client group and which I got to take home...beets, a squash, and parsnips.


Friday, October 1, 2021

mountains

Mountain sketches from a recent trip to Banff. 

Mount Rundle from Johnson Lake, and two consecutive views from the Chateau Lake Louise, with a misty Victoria Glacier in the centre.

 

A Lake Louise composite view, from left to right: the edges of Fairview Mountain and Mount Lefroy, then Victoria Glacier (with the top of Victoria Mountain in the mist), Mount Whyte and Mount Niblock joined by a snowy saddle (the "Big Beehive" is in the foreground), and Mount St. Piran at the far right.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Urban scenes from a trip

A streetscape from the Cathedral neighbourhood and a downtown view across CN maintenance yards, both from Regina, Saskatchewan, and the view of downtown from "Garbage Hill", an urban park built on top of an old dumping ground in Winnipeg, Manitoba.   




 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Every Day in May (EDiM) 2021

Once again this year, I participated in "Every Day in May", a Facebook page in which participants from across the world post sketches daily based on the day's prompt throughout the month of May. It's my 5th or 6th year now, and this has become a good yearly opportunity to stay focused on something I like doing for 31 consecutive days. A quick sketch before going to bed every night was a great meditative way to end each day. 

My personal policy has been always to sketch from real life (usually at the kitchen table with a glass of beer), but this year I made a point of using pen and ink only. 

Here are all 30 drawings from last month...


Monday, February 15, 2021

Tulips

A good friend brings three stems of tulips in a vase to share some Valentines joy with my family, and we are touched. 

It reminded me of the few weeks in the early days of the pandemic, in which sketching the tulips sprouting from the ground  every day brought a sense of calm and groundedness that I craved during an especially trying time in the spring of 2020. By the grace of God, extended to us through the kindness of friends like this, I am grateful in being able to say I am in a completely different place today.





a selection from April and May, 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020

CN Rail Snowplow

I discovered the Alberta Railway Museum this summer while on a bike ride, and was intrigued by the rail cars that announce the museum's entry off the rural roadway, across the now-closed entry gate. But it's served as a great destination for some rides over the course of the last few months, and I've managed to sketch the lead car -- a CN snow plow -- on some sunny evening drives. 




Thursday, August 13, 2020

constrction site

 A construction site over the course of the last few weeks... this is the first series of urban sketches I have done in a while. The first one was completed by some rain drops... it adequately documents my experience that day.