Acts of Love

On Motivation and Encouragement

Mother of Exiles: A Picture of Mercy March 2, 2012

Filed under: Hospitality,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 12:16 am
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“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“The New Colossus” By Emily Lazzarus

Lent Day 9

This is the inscription found at the base of the State of Liberty. To me, it is a powerful picture of Mercy.  Immigration is a complicated issue and I have no intention of engaging in any political rhetoric or debate here;  I am simply moved at the sentiment conveyed in this poem and image. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of welcoming, particularly to those who are suffering and lost.  I am a volunteer and advocate for the refugee community here in New Hampshire. I work with families who have come to the United States, not because they wanted to, but because in their own country they are subject to oppression and persecution of the worst kind. When so much is made, in the media and the political scene, about illegal  immigration, it is easy to forget that our country does still welcome the ‘huddled masses’ who ‘yearn to breath free’. I pray that our country continues to offer a beacon of hope for the hopeless. I pray that we would welcome our newest neighbors without fear and prejudice or judgement. I think spending some time reflecting on the above picture and poem is a good reminder for all Americans about the mercy inherent in our countries founding principles and values.

For tomorrow:

Mercy Given and Mercy Received

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God is Colorful March 1, 2012

Filed under: Creativity,Teaching and Learning — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 12:40 am
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Lent Day 8

Today’s reflection exercise was to find the color of mercy. I spent quite a bit of time looking through photographs and artwork; but must to my consternation nothing seemed to jump out at me. I should say that I know very little about art, aside from what I learned in one undergraduate course in art history. I do not paint, or take photographs, although I enjoy museums. The very idea that color can represent a characteristic of God was lost on me entirely, until I pulled back and started looking at the sheer vastness of color in the world; and not just the mind-boggling array of magnificent colors we observe in nature, but the amazing tapestry that is mankind in all of it’s multicultural beauty.

We are created in His image, and blessed with a certain amount of creativity, which has resulted in the kaleidoscope of cultures we see throughout history. Our God is the creator of art, of family, of music, of language, and of celebration. He created the very rhythms of the seasons, and the internal seasons of families and individuals. As observers, we then can see glimpses of the characteristics of God in this colorful display of people and places. I can only imagine what God sees from His vantage point; not the messy tension and strife between disconnected and isolated people, but rather each of the unique shades of Himself represented across the globe, in each culture, each place, each ethnicity, and each person.

So I could not find one color that adequately conveyed ‘mercy’ to me, but I did come to the conclusion that God’s character is reflected in all color; and what is the simultaneous presence of all color, but light! The world was created beginning with light, the seven colors of the rainbow spoken by God (Genesis 1:3). Similarly, Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12), and the white that covers our crimson sin (Isaiah 1:18). For our part, believers are called to be light in a dark world (Matthew 5: 13-16). God is color, God is light, but color is just one reflection of God. He is a God of creativity and detail and His fingerprints are found everywhere, in every person, and everything.

“You are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord turns my darkness into light” 2 Samuel 22:29.

For Tomorrow:

A Picture of Mercy