Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Mixtape: cleaning that shines

Welcome to Monday Mix Tape, in which I pretend I'm Ira Glass.  You know, I choose a theme and share with you several variations on the theme from the worlds of art, faith and culture.  To keep up the fun little facade of making a weekly mix tape, I label each of these finds as "track 1",  "track 2", and so on (and just like the stack of mixtapes you've got hidden in a box in your attic, you never know when you might see some love song from Journey or Lionel Richie show up here).

 We're in the midst of the weeks of Epiphany, the weeks we remember some of the key moments of Jesus' life starting with the visit of the magi to the Child-King, the baptism of Jesus, and the water turned to wine at the Cana wedding.    The word epiphany from ancient Greek speaks to a striking appearance, a manifestation. I barely know how to picture the word:  manifestation.  "To make manifest" does not help me at all, but synonyms shed more light:  clear, distinct, unmistakable, open, palpable, visible, conspicuous.  Oh, yes, this makes delightful sense to me now.

You've heard the pithy expression attributed to the theologian William Barclay, "There are two great days in a person's life -- the day we are born and the day we discover why."  These vigorous words help me frame the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Epiphany and could be restated:  In these two great seasons in the life of Jesus we celebrate the day the Messiah was born and the events Father, Son and Spirit reveal why.

Early on, only a few recognize the God in the boy body.  Only a few had eyes trained well enough to follow the natural and supernatural signs pointing toward ancient prophesy fulfilled through the virgin in Bethlehem.  Only a few were able to see by the light of stars only, everyone else needed the spiritual light bulbs of a divine epiphany.  The triune God wastes no revelation, he does not randomly scatter revelation as if pouring magic fairy dust over a sleeping kingdom.  With the accounts in the early chapters of the Gospels, God reveals not just the pragmatic truth of making invisible divinity visible in the body of Jesus; rather, He continues to reveal His very heart, His nature revealed carefully through the natural and supernatural moments of Jesus' life.  In other words, we do well to pay attention to the who, what, where and how of these accounts.  When we do, the eyes of our hearts will behold the face of God.

For the next few weeks, we gather round these flaming-bush moments in Jesus' life hoping for our sleeping hearts to be stricken with sight.  This week I'm thinking about the heart of God lived out in a Christ who wandered the earth healing, forgiving and cleansing those who'd walked in darkness for a very, very long time.

track 1: visual art

Artist statement:  The crisis has left important buildings in the city unused and in an appalling state of neglect, one of them was owned by Telefonica, the largest telephone company in Spain and it is located in the Plaza de España.This building was purchased with state money when Telefonica was a state owned company and sold when Telefonica was privatized in order to build a business park on the outskirts of the city. It is currently in a state of absolute disrepair and abandoned, waiting to be auctioned off following the bankruptcy of its current owners.

Passing in front of it, gives one a sensation of filth and sadness, especially at night, which could be lessened by a good cleaning.
Trying to call attention to its state, so that they proceed with cleaning it, we carried out the installation Things that would be better if they were clean, in which 100 pristine, white cloths, were placed on the entrance to this building, now darkened by filth and urine.
The photos, as always, are by Gustavo Sanabria.
Time of installation: 2 hours.
Damages: none.
Exhibition time: 12 hours.

track 2: music

A collection of some of my favorite hymns and anthems celebrating the way Jesus changes our broken, shameful, sorry pieces into whole, clean and joyous marks of redemption and grace.

Healing by Tamara Murphy on Grooveshark

track 3: a collect 
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christs’s glory,that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (via All Saints Church)

track 4: dance

This might be a tiny stretch and a touch sentimental, but  I decided it was close enough to this week's theme to include in the mixtape. (and definitely one of my favorite moments on season 7 of SYTYCD)

track 5: a poem

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
Mary Oliver, from her poem "Sometimes"

Happy Monday!
Won't you join me this week in keeping watch for every common bush afire with God....
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