Bend low ,O Lord, and listen….


O Lord ,God of Israel,

sitting on your throne high above the angels

You alone are the God all the kingdoms of esrth

You created the heavens and the earth.

Bend low, O Lord, and listen.

Open your eyes, O Lord, and see.

O Lord, our God, we plead with you to save us from this power;

then all the kingdoms of this earth will know that you alone are God.


We may wish for an instant, miraculous deliverance of our problems, but it doesn’t usually happen that way. God most often uses quiet resources- the steady supply of a friend, the encouragement of a support group, the quiet leading of the Holy Spirit- to stregthen us in our recovery.

The Life Recovery Bible

Vincent Van Gogh


collage by Jeanne Poland (Quicksilver)

Vincent Van Gogh

March 30 is the birthday of the artist who wrote, “To do good work, one must eat well, be well housed, have one’s fling from time to time, smoke one’s pipe, and drink one’s coffee in peace”: Vincent van Gogh, born in Groot-Zundert, Holland, in 1853. Not much is known about his childhood, except that he was one of six children, a quiet boy, not especially drawn to artistic pursuits. He worked for a time in an art gallery in The Hague as a young man, then left to follow in his clergyman father’s footsteps as a sort of missionary to the poor. His behavior was erratic, but his family supported him as best they could. And while he didn’t last too long as an evangelist, he felt a kinship with the working classes — an affinity demonstrated again and again in his painting.

It was his brother Theo who urged Vincent to become an artist. Vincent had never had any formal training, nor displayed any overt talent, and he was doubtful about his chances for success, as were his parents. But Theo was persistent, and he would prove to be Vincent’s unfailing source of financial, emotional, and artistic support. Vincent taught himself to draw, and later took lessons. By 1886, he moved to Paris to live with Theo, and discovered that the muted palette he had used in his early work was woefully out of date. He adapted without too much trouble to the more vibrant hues of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and it wasn’t long before he began to view color as the chief conveyer of emotion, even using it to illustrate abstract themes.

In 1888, he moved to the south of France, to Arles, in search of light and sun, hoping to form an artists’ colony with his friend Paul Gauguin. He began painting sunflowers to decorate Gauguin’s bedroom, and later, Gauguin would write of their time together: “In my yellow room, sunflowers with purple eyes stand out against a yellow background; the ends of their stalks bathe in a yellow pot on a yellow table. In one corner of the painting, the painter’s signature: Vincent. And the yellow  sun, coming through the yellow curtains of my room, floods all this flowering with gold, and in the morning, when I wake up in my bed, I have the impression that it all smells very good. Oh yes! he loved yellow, did good Vincent, the painter from Holland, gleams of sunlight warming his soul, which detested fog. A craving for warmth. When the two of us were together in Arles, both of us insane, and constantly at war over beautiful colors, I adored red; where could I find a perfect vermilion? He, taking his yellowest brush, wrote on the suddenly purple wall: I am whole in spirit. I am the Holy Spirit.”

He wrote to Theo constantly from Arles, describing the landscape and his work in vivid terms. In 1888, he described his work on his painting “Night Café”: “I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can destroy oneself, go mad, or commit a crime. In short, I have tried, by contrasting soft pink with blood-red and wine-red, soft Louis XV-green and Veronese green with yellow-greens and harsh blue-greens, all this in an atmosphere of an infernal furnace in pale sulphur, to express the powers of darkness in a common tavern.”

Van Gogh committed himself to an asylum in 1888. His behavior is consistent with what we now call manic depression or bipolar disorder, and he also suffered seizures due to temporal lobe epilepsy. He worked at an incredible pace during this time, although painting for long stretches was difficult for him, and he produced “Starry Night,” one of his most famous works. Two years later, he left the asylum but his frenetic pace continued, and he produced a painting almost daily. He believed himself a failure, although he never gave up hope of success; he wrote to Theo: “What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.” He walked out one July afternoon in 1890 and shot himself, dying of the wound two days later. Theo died six months later, and the two are buried side by side in Auvers-sur-Oise.

My Holy Spirit (3)


Gripping talons, wings of protection,
Imperial power, lofty spirit action;
Soars above the world; discriminates ambiguity;
Spirit of Salvation, Redemption, Resurrection.

Imperial power, lofty spirit action
Aristocratic, noble Roman ensign
Radiant as the sun, high and weighty emblem.

Soars above the world, discriminates ambiguity
Balances justice, truth, equality:
Weighty actions, vast authority.

Spirit of Salvation, Redemption, Resurrection
Speeds to comprehension: Father, Son & Spirit:
Mother of all three: Continuity.

My Holy Spirit (2)


Owl symbolizes wisdom. Holy Spirit brings wisdom to help us examine our lives; shows us past denial and self deception. He conforms us to the image of God’s son.

Your wisdom-eyes pierce the darkness of the night;
Inner light speeds vision through the trees and haze.
Your gizzard guides you in the storm, the winds
Make way for victory-guardian’s flighted maze.

Inner light speeds vision through the trees and haze:
You hear our cries, our pleas for mercy, sight,
The holy view, You knew, in Christ Your Son.

Your gizzard guides you in the storm, the winds
A rally-call, a tumult-spin, a war to win:
Protector’s wide spread wings!

Make way for victory-guardian’s flighted maze:
A guiding bird, watchful gaze, prophet
Of holiness! sanctifier-spirit!

My Holy Spirit

doves connect

I believe the Holy Spirit is a comforter, counselor, advocate, minister and spirit of truth.
John 14:15-18

I believe that even God can’t know himself without his Holy Spirit.
So why would we symbolize Him as a bird, and more specifically as a dove?

Doves are the sheep of the bird world: gentle followers;
Devoted to their mates, for life; nesting in beaks;
Docile in sacrifice, roaming freely in clouds;
Glimmering silver and gold against the peaks.

Devoted to their mates, for life; nesting in beaks;
Loyal nurturers to young and to weak;
The patient, proud parents we seek.

Docile in sacrifice, roaming freely in clouds;
Transporting, transforming, ne’er loud.
But swiftly swelling, quiet and proud.

Glimmering silver and gold against the peaks;
Dazzling light, prism’s plumage;
Other worldly, other person, other lover!

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