Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Golgotha 1999

It was April 1999. My mother and I traveled with a group of people going to Israel for an unforgettable trip. We had planned this trip for 3 yrs. It was an educational trip but it turned out to be much, much more. We had a guide named Dikko who was a walking encyclopedia of historical information. He lived in Israel as well as our bus driver.

Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea and Tel Aviv were few of the places we went to during this trip. We had hoped for my father to go along, however he died of cancer the previous year. Ruby Gregory was our travel agent who came along for her 3rd or 4th trip there. She was great and told us everything we needed to know about going.

Before we boarded the El Al airline filled with over 500 passengers, we were told to come 3 hrs. early for pre-flight check. We were 'grilled' by the Israeli plane security officers. They asked us numerous questions before boarding the flight. They opened all our bags and looked through each one of them at least 3 times. They did this for each of the over 500 people boarding the plane. This all happened before 9/11. Their security makes the U.S. airports look very lax in comparison even today. I gladly complied to everything and felt so safe.

Golgotha was very memorable to me and the group. The Garden Tomb where Jesus was supposedly buried is well taken care of by the British. British volunteers work there. It was free to visit the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem as well as Golgotha. Golgotha is called "the place of the skull". Our guide told us that Jesus supposedly was crucified at Golgotha. The Romans would crucify people there at the base of the mount, instead of the top of the hill. Because the Romans liked to instill fear among the people. At the time of the crucifixion, he said it was historically a busy marketplace. All of this made me realize that Jesus was crucified naked in a busy public area where the people passing by would be eye level to him as they walked by!

As we went inside the Garden Tomb, we saw a plaque on the wall saying: 'He Is Not Here For He Is Risen'. After that we sat at a table overlooking Golgotha and had communion there. There was not one dry eye in our group....

Few places have affected me as deeply as the Garden Tomb and Golgotha. It solidified our faith after spending time there in prayer.

As I painted this stylized backdrop of Golgotha for the Good Friday Play, I was reminded of the place where I visited and not to take so lightly the heavy price that was paid by Him. Yes, Friday is good because He is Risen!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Encouragement from Franky Schaeffer

For my fellow christian artists and those who are working and waiting for God to use their art. I would like to share some encouragement that I recently read from Franky Schaeffer. From his book called Addicted to Mediocrity. Be blessed...

And now a word to my fellow artists and those employed or hoping to be employed in some professional capacity in the arts, fields of expression and communications, and also to those who, while living in different professions, have artistic and creative urges and interests personally (therefore, I trust, everyone).

"The world had many kings," said his contemporary Aretino, "But only one Michaelangelo."

Do not be discouraged. History is on your side. God has given you a talent. You are important to him and live in the court of God, not the court of men. You cannot wait for the Sanhedrin's approval.

Be expressing yourself as an artist and by exercising those talents God has given you, you are praising him. Whether what you express is "religious" or "secular." as a Christian you are praising him. Everything is his.

The church's attitude toward the arts, the narrow-mindedness of it, the demand for slogans and justification, the utilitarianism, the programs, the guilt-ridden view of all life is unchristian, unbiblical, ungodly and wrong. Do not let this suppress you, as a member of this generation of creative people, the way it has suppressed so many in the recent past. You must press on.

Remember that as a creative person, the important thing is to create. Who sees what you make, where it goes and what it does is a secondary consideration, the first is to exercise the talent God has given you.

You cannot expect too much too soon. It is the lifelong body of work that counts. It is that body of work whose expression means something and changes cultures in which we live in terms of bearing fruit. One individual work cannot say everything.

Your work will vary, one day to express something rather important to you personally and perhaps less important to the world around you, perhaps another time to wrestle with a weighty issue. There is no right or wrong method. There is no Christian or unchristian subject matter (except in the area of art work or expression that would deliberately have as its primary purpose to lead people away from truth).

You are tremendously free, you are the most free, for you have form on which to build your freedom, you know who you are, you know where your talent comes from, you know that you and your talent will live forever. You know that God has placed worth on you; you know creativity, unlike so many things in this fallen world, did not come from the Fall, but was something there with God before he created, with him when he created, and that he has given to man as his creature. It will be there in the new heavens and the new earth. Your creative talent, exercised and worked on in this life, is something you will take with you. Unlike money, or spiritual slogans, it is eternal.

Produce, produce, produce. Create, create, create. Work, work, work. This is what we must do as Christians in the arts, with or without the support of the church, we are to exercise our God-given talent, praise him through it, enjoy it, bear fruit in the age in which we live.

It is a worthwhile fight, and more than a fight it is an enjoyment of a good and gracious gift from our heavenly Father, freely given, to be enjoyed, practiced, and treasured.

When you get discouraged as a Christian in the arts, consider the heritage in which you stand. Bathe in the knowledge that for centuries Christians have practiced and nurtured the arts with faithfulness, and that you now carry this torch forward. Take courage from this. Take courage from the creativity and beauty of God's world around us. Take courage from the creativity of other people.

Be encouraged and keep looking up!

~ Margret

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Michaelangelo. Just the name conjures up wonderful artwork images. The Sistine Chapel for one. Recently, I read an article where they found that one of his paintings had an image of what they believed to be a brain in the background. It took a physician from John Hopkins University and a medical illustrator to see this.

Today artists are blessed with numerous photographic images and live models for reference material in their paintings. Michaelangelo and countless artists that have preceeded us did not have the luxury of photos. With excellence, his artwork has touched countless audiences through the ages. What we choose to see touches our lives and impacts our art, just as it did many years ago with Michaelangelo.

What is excellence? Excellence is doing the best with what you have. Pushing past mediocrity and to excel with the talent and skills that God has enabled you to do.

Art at it's best stimulates the mind and moves the soul. I constantly seem to push myself towards this mark for others. Trying to achieve this is a constant challenge as an artist. Because once artistic integrity is achieved on some level, it must be maintained. Growth must also happen. Otherwise others will see that the artistic integrity has waned.

Learning, growth and change are a part of life. As life continues, so will art. Even though artwork may change, excellence and artistic integrity will not. Michaelangelo and countless artists down through the ages are visual proof of this.