Photo: All Flesh is as Grass
48X36, oil on linen, 2014

Mr. Rogachefsky was an old man who lived across the street from us. He had a lovely apple tree nestling against his house. He told the neighbors we were welcome to all the apples we wanted. I took him at his word.

He went into assisted living several years ago. His house sat vacant until last Christmas, when a flurry of contractors descended. Their first act was to yank the foundation plantings and cut down that beautiful tree, still covered with the last of autumn’s fruit.

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

We know that intellectually, but it’s still a shock when the chainsaw comes out.
Photo: Dead Wood
48X36, oil on linen, 2014

Branches that fall into streams tend to collect other sticks into logjams. This debris can alter the flow of the river itself. There is great force holding such river jams in place; in fact, breaking a logjam is something best left to experts, as it can be very dangerous.

Sin drops into the current of our life, and gets caught up on other sins. By the time we are adults, we have a logjam of sins pushing one against another, altering the very flow of our lives, defining what we understand to be our character or personality. “She’s temperamental.”  “He is afraid of his own shadow.” These are not true marks of character, but the distortion caused by this logjam of sin.

How do we identify the key log to break the logjam? We don’t; we need help from the Holy Spirit. (My thanks to Tony Martorana, senior pastor at Joy Community Church, who used this metaphor in a sermon.)
Photo: Waves of Mercy and Grace,
48X36, oil on canvas
Photo: The Harvest is Plenty 
36X48, oil on linen, 2014

Jesus sent out disciples two by two, telling them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Those of us who spend time in the agricultural world understand this metaphor: we sow seeds, we tend plants, and when the harvest comes in, it’s a lot of work and we’re generally short-handed. 

But what if the order of things is interrupted? What if a line squall off Lake Ontario flattens the entire field right before the combine arrives?

When wheat ripens, it has heavy, nodding heads on delicate stems. As summer deepens the wheat assumes a color that has no equal in the artificial world—it has a shimmering beauty that’s impossible to capture in paint or photographs—much, in fact, like human souls. Looking at the field from the angle of the threatening storm, we should stand convicted of our need to get busy.
Photo: Beauty Instead of Ashes
48X36, oil on linen, 2014

Midcoast Maine is full of limestone deposits. When limestone is burned, the carbon dioxide burns off and quicklime is left. This is used to make plaster, paper, mortar, concrete, fertilizer, leather, glue, paint, and glass. By the Civil War, midcoast Maine was producing more than a million casks of lime a year. 

Rockport, ME, is one of America’s beauty spots, but it was once a center of quicklime manufacture. Step away from its photogenic harbor and hike up the Goose River a few thousand feet, and you will see great piles of lime tailings. Nature slowly attempts to cover this wound, but it is a slow process.

Eventually God will cover our sins, but it takes a long, long time. Sin can endure through generations, but ultimately, the spirit of the Lord will be with us, “to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3-4)
Carol Douglas
Waves of Mercy and Grace,
48X36, oil on canvas
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