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Walking on Water

During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.- Mt. 14:25-29

Walking on Water - Azurite

Yesterday was a day of faith. It was a day of life and death, of beauty and harshness. It seemed liked all of life, in just a few short hours.

Dear Husband coaches high school soccer; we're in the midst of the boys' season right now. Just before his team took the pitch on Monday night, they were informed that a classmate had committed suicide. It's a very small school, and all the boys knew the young man. It was tremendously hard.

Yesterday morning, Husband texted me and asked if I had any ideas for black armbands for the boys to wear for their games tonight and tomorrow. I first thought about making some, but I knew I wouldn't have time. I prayed a "Hail Mary" and Googled local sporting goods stores. There is one literally half a block from where I work, so I started there.

I got the owner on the phone. He knew the young man, and his family. We talked about some options and I walked over there. He handed me a box with the items, and said, "No charge."

As all this was going on, my Oldest Sister was texting me: her mother-in-law had died. It was not unexpected; "Ma" has been quite sick for sometime, and hospice has been in their home regularly, helping to care for her. Understandably, my sister was upset and needed to vent. I was trying to comfort her, find these armbands, and work. We had a rather large event at work last night.

Today marks the beginning of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, and one of the artists my office is hosting was here last night to speak. Mako Fujimura is a New York-based painter who speaks - in dulcet tones - about faith, art and culture. His talk last night was transformational. He spoke not only on the work he has entered in ArtPrize, but about his work in general, and how his Christian faith informs his work.

While his work could easily be called "modern," he uses traditional Japanese methods. His ArtPrize work - Walking On Water - Azurite - was created with water on gesso, using crushed minerals, including azurite. He said last night, just as he pulverizes minerals to create, "God has to pulverize us to make us beautiful."

The painting is quite large (8'x11'), and Mako said he literally was "walking on water" as he was creating it. He referenced the Scripture passage above, and the need to walk out in faith, on something that does not hold us firm.

When I came into work today, I stood for a time before the painting. Water is one of the first things God created, an element of both life and death. It cleanses and baptizes, refreshes and drowns. It is only our faith that makes it "safe."

Yesterday was a day of faith and blessing, life and death. "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

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