Author Archives: E.J.

The Event You’ve Been Waiting All Winter For!

sailor stans opening 2016

Sailor Stan’s will be reopening tomorrow (Saturday) at 7:00am, and Sunday too.  Just weekends for now, but that’s when most people probably want to go break their fast on the Neck this time of year.  Karen Roberts has been working all winter on her beautiful and very affordable sea glass jewelry, and will have some on display.  Wayne has been busy at work painting all winter, as you can see from this colorful, iris-filled beauty of Sailor Stan’s.  Spring is Here!  Come on down the Neck.

It is also the final weekend of the Rocky Neck Now exhibit at the Cultural Center, so get some eats and take in some art.  I’ll be gallery sitting from 2-4 on Saturday, so stop in and say hi.  The closing reception for the show will be Sunday from 2-4.  Elynn Kroger Gallery is open, as is John Nesta, and possibly Side Street too.

E.J. Lefavour

PUBLIC FORUMS SCHEDULED ON NEW ARTS AND CULTURAL INITIATIVE AND PUBLIC ARTS POLICY

Gloucester’s City Ward Councilors, the Gloucester Committee for the Arts and the new Arts and Cultural Initiative will host a series of Ward/Community meetings concerning the Arts and Cultural Initiative and a review of a Draft Public Art Policy Ordinance.

The Cultural Arts Initiative will provide an overview of the new initiative and seek community input to help set priorities for the program. The initiative also seeks assistance in identifying the full range of Gloucester’s artistic and cultural community to insure that it understands, connects and advocates for all.

The Gloucester Committee for the Arts will lead a discussion to review a draft art policy ordinance in advance of its submission to the City. All documents pertaining to the art policy will be available for review prior to the Ward meetings on the City’s web site, the Sawyer Free Library and the Mayor’s office.

The meetings will be moderated by John Sarrouf from Gloucester Conversations.

MEETING DATES:

April 19th – Councilors Cox and LeBlanc will host a meeting for Wards 2 and 3 starting at 6pm in the Sawyer Free Library.

April 20th – Councilor Memhard will host a meeting for Ward 1 at 6:30pm at the Gloucester Stage

April 21st – Councilor Nolan will host the Ward 5 meeting at 5pm in the Magnolia Library

April 25th – Councilor Gilman will host the Ward 4 meeting at 7:00 pm in the Lanesville Community Center

Cultural and Arts Initiative Background Material –

In September, 2015, a partnership of three arts organizations – Rocky Neck Art colony, ArtsGloucester, and seARTS – received $45,500 in grant funding over two years for the establishment of the Gloucester Arts and Cultural Initiative, a project whose mission is to champion innovation and excellence in the cultural landscape, to support private and public cultural development across all sectors, and to strengthen and promote the cultural vitality of the city’s waterfront and neighborhoods.

The Initiative will be led by Martha Wood, the Project Manager, and a Steering Committee. The initiative will engage in long-term projects including development of a Cultural Master Plan for Gloucester, investigating ways to provide affordable studio space for visual, performing and other artists; and researching how best to provide resources and advocacy for Gloucester’s many-faceted cultural organizations and communities. Among the Initiative’s tasks will be to determine priorities for the program and to assemble the Steering Committee, a council of citizens dedicated to the future and sustainability of Gloucester as a city rooted in its arts, culture, and the unique heritage of its natural environment.

Community input will play an important part in determining the priorities and shaping this Initiative. To that end, we invite and encourage you to attend one of the forums and complete an online survey to gather public input at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F62NTPQ.

Art Policy Background Material –

History

The Committee for the Arts was established in 2000. Over the years since, the City and the Committee (CFTA) have realized that the City needs a public art policy that deals with not only its current art holdings, but also includes a process to provide City officials and the community with assurances that proper procedures are in place to guide future public art decisions for the City. As early as 2005, CFTA Chair Kate Bodin and CFTA member John Ronan drafted a very lengthy and inclusive art policy. Although this policy was offered, but not considered by City Council, its value as a guide remains to this day. Later, in 2012, another partial and more condensed art policy was written by CFTA member, Marcia Hart, but this policy was never submitted to the City.

Following the concerns and confusion regarding the proposed gift of sculpture from David Black in late 2014, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken with the assistance of Jack Clarke hosted the first of several public meetings regarding public art. In 2015, at the request of CFTA, the City put out a request for proposals for a public art consultant to assist in formulating a public art policy. As a result of the RFP, CFTA selected consultant Elizabeth Keithline to advise CFTA on what such a policy should address and how to get public input on it. Keithline conducted additional public meetings and did direct public outreach, through which public concerns regarding a public art policy were collected.   Keithline’s report was submitted in March of this year. After review of that report and the previous reports, CFTA now has developed a new proposed ordinance that will be considered by the public and City officials over the next few months.

Approach

As demonstrated by the 2005 report (totaling over 60 pages), a comprehensive public art policy is a large document, with a lot of detailed procedures. While those details are important, most important at the beginning is to establish the framework through the ordinance to incorporate the safeguards and overarching requirements that the public wants and the City needs to ensure that the process is transparent and fair, and consistent into the future. Once that framework is adopted by the City, CFTA can then begin writing specific policies and procedures on various aspects of the overall policy.

To move the remaining process forward, several critical steps will be taken:

All related documents (including the current and proposed ordinances, previous proposals, and the consultant’s report, will be available for public view on the CFTA page of the City’s website and copies will be placed in the Sawyer Free Library and the Mayor’s Office in City Hall.

The draft ordinance will be reviewed throughout Gloucester’s communities via public forums in the various wards. During these meetings, the community will have an opportunity to comment on the draft ordinance and offer their assistance and input on several issues that remain unresolved.

Once CFTA has heard from the communities, the Committee will address any additions or corrections to the draft ordinance and submit it to the City’s General Counsel and the Mayor. Once a final ordinance is approved by the Mayor, it will be presented to City Council, which before considering it , will hold a formal public hearing. As in the past few months, the public is encouraged to stay involved as this process moves forward.

Contacts:

Judith Hoglander, Chair, Committee for the Arts

judith@nii.net

978-865-3920

202-669-4412 (Cell)

 

Martha Wood, Project Manager

Gloucester Arts and Cultural Initiative

Martha@GloucesterArtsandCulture.org

(978) 857-6731

Beaux Arts Ball

beaux arts ball 2016 shots

It was overcast and chilly, so the parade wasn’t quite what it has been in the past during summer balls, but in spite of the weather, people turned out with some great costumes.  The Studio looked amazing, the Ball Committee did an incredible job of decorating, food was plentiful and delicious and fun was had by all.

E.J. Lefavour

Raymond Gonzalez in Concert

raymond gonzalez at CC

April 16, 2016, Doors at 7:00 PM Concert Starts 7:30 PM

Tickets $25, $20 for RNAC Members

Buy Now: http://rockyneckartcolony.org/event/concert-raymond-gonzalez/

The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck

6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

Raymond Gonzalez is a composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist. A professional guitarist since the age of 16, he has traveled extensively throughout the US performing on concert stages, festivals, radio, TV, coffeehouses, house concerts, and most things in between. Classical, celtic, jazz, folk, blues, rock and the avant-garde are all in Raymond’s arsenal of musical styles. He began composing for solo guitar, piano, and small (classical) ensembles at a very young age, which ultimately lead to a Master’s degree in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music.  He continues to compose and perform in the classical and modern music arena. Raymond taught guitar (all styles) at University of Massachusetts, Boston for 11 years and currently teaches at Salem State University.

In addition to his commercial writing and production work at blue fish sound productions (see the production tab), Raymond has written and produced eleven albums of original songs and solo guitar pieces. Curly-Headed Humans (1989), and On the Water (1993) were both recorded with Amy Malkoff ; since going solo, Raymond has recorded Thieves (1997), the company you keep (1999), Moonlight and Sage(2004), tunes from the blue fish-ballades, breakdowns and tributes (2006), tunes from the blue fish II (2008), and Night Sky (2008), Carols(2011) Open Tuning (2012), One Bright Light (2013).

“One of America’s finest guitarists and composers”

-Dave Palmater, WUMB Radio Boston

“It’s hard to say which is better, his way with a six string or his way with a pen”

-Neil Fagan, Performing Songwriter Magazine

“Raymond Gonzalez proves himself to be a world class artist worthy of recognition beyond our humble seaside state” -Brian Owens, Metronome Magazine, Boston.

Open Tuning” listed in the top 20 Albums for 2012 – Metronome Magazine

According to Neil Fagen in Performing Songwriter magazine, “It’s hard to say which is better, his way with a six string or his way with a pen.”

“A world class Musician” Peter Janson, Acoustic Guitarist, Eastern Woods Music.

Raymond Gonzalez

blue fish sound productions

781-367-2664

raymondgonzalez.net

New Jerusalem

new jerusalem2

Most people are aware that there are two possible endings in the Bible.  This is the one I choose, and I hope everyone I have ever known in life chooses it too.

Revelation 21

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them; they will be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using. The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22:1-7

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Even our wildest imaginings cannot begin to approach the threshold of what God has prepared in eternity for those who love him, and are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Bananas Fashion Show City Hall Benefit

Bananas fashion show

A benefit Bananas Fashion Show to get the hot air out of City Hall.

Richard Leonard, the owner of the iconic Main Street vintage clothing store, Bananas, is staging one of his rare fashion extravaganzas on Saturday April 23 and Sunday April 24. The production will benefit the Gloucester City Hall restoration fund with the proceeds being used to restore the auditorium’s ventilation system. As Maggie Rosa, Chair of the City Hall Restoration Commission says with a smile, “we are aiming to get the hot air out of City Hall!”

This show, Leonard’s third held to benefit City Hall restoration, will include his Bananarettes, a group of both women and men, some of whom travel from New York City to participate.

The creative black tie Saturday gala starts at 7:00 p.m. and will include live & silent auctions, champagne & dessert – tickets are $75 each. On Sunday the doors open at 2:30 p.m. and the show will include a pick-a-prize auction and light refreshments – tickets are $35 each for adults and $15 for people 18 years and under.

“This being Gloucester, you can dress however you want to, but it’s a lot of fun to wear something different. If you have nothing to wear, go to Bananas and you will find something” says Jan Bell, Co-chair of the event.

Tickets are on sale at Bananas (78 Main St., Gloucester,) Alexandra’s Bread (265 Main St., Gloucester,) and online at Eventbrite. For more information, please contact BananasFashionShow@gmail.com.

What Makes You Feel Uncomfortable is Good

rasta lion

That may sound strange to some, but it is true. Whatever in life makes us feel uncomfortable, whatever touches a nerve in us (a person, situation, conflict, trying new things, religion, God), does so because there is an obstacle in our path of growth; something we need to look at and overcome within ourselves in order to grow and evolve in our earthly experience.  Unfortunately, we Americans in particular, have become so focused on whatever makes us feel good, comfortable, secure, etc. that we have become weak and soft as a people, and have lost our way.  We run from anything that touches a nerve – hiding our heads in the sand of entertainment, drugs, alcohol, partying, diversions of all sorts; or we strike out in anger, and if it makes us uncomfortable enough, we kill it – rather than examining it to understand why it makes us uncomfortable, and coming to terms with it, so that we can move on from it stronger, more evolved beings.

Through the sharing of my winter creative project, I have encountered many reactions from people, both on blog and off. Some greatly enjoyed it and wrote to tell me, which is good; some disagreed with things and voiced their disagreement, thereby opening up discussion, which is good; some wrote to say that it was causing them to question and investigate, which is good; some were upset by it, which is also good.

People who are in right relationship with God know they are. People who have a relationship with God, but aren’t really giving Him the love and devotion they know He deserves and desires, also know.  People who are mad at God for some perceived wrong He did, know within themselves that God is God, perfect and incapable of wrong.  People who say they don’t believe in God would obviously have no problem with Him because to them He doesn’t exist (although I find that akin to someone saying their mother doesn’t exist because they’ve never met her).  However, we most often run and hide from God because we feel guilt and shame (like Adam and Eve hiding from God in the garden) because we know we have done wrong and want to hide from the punishment we know we rightly deserve, or try to make excuses or blame someone else (my parents didn’t love me, I grew up poor, I grew up in a bad neighborhood, I was abused, bullied, etc.).  I know I fought hard against going before God for that reason; but God sees and knows all, so there is no hiding.

Fortunantely He is incomprehensibly loving and kind, and does not want to lose a single one of us.  That is why He gave us an out, The Way to become whole, forgiven and free through the acceptance of the sacrifice of His Son, which was made on behalf of all of us.  We just have to accept it and make it our own.  But it is completely our choice.  We can accept His gift of redemption, which promises us eternal life, or we can refuse it, which results in death.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).  God is also perfect justice, and no wrong goes unpunished.  We either choose to take the punishment ourselves (death), or we accept the gift of Jesus’ death to cover us and take it for us.  It seems like such a no-brainer.  And in fact it is a no-brainer, because our limited human minds are incapable of comprehending the magnitude of God’s mind and ways, so we have no choice but to accept it in faith believing.  And that doesn’t require a lot of faith, as Jesus told us, we need only have the faith of a mustard seed (which is really tiny).  Remember Abraham, who was counted as righteous because of his faith, not because of anything he did.  There is nothing we can do on our own to earn salvation.  You could be Mother Theresa, but if you haven’t accepted the gift of eternal life through Christ, you are ultimately no better off than a mass murderer.  God does not use a sliding scale system.  On the Day of Judgment, you are either in the Lamb’s Book of Life (having accepted his gift and thereby covered by Him – allowing Him to take the bullet for you), or you are not, period.  Revelation 20:15: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Exodus 32:33: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”  John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter how good you think you’ve been) believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

This series was not intended to try to force anything on anyone, because God never forces us. He gave us complete free will to come to Him or not, as we choose.  God’s purpose in this assignment for me was to provide an overview of the Bible, His Word, to make it visual and plain for those who haven’t taken the time to study and know His Word for themselves.  As those of you who know me know, it is in my nature to share whatever I encounter that is good, beautiful, worthy and uplifting.  I can’t not share it.

Only a portion of this series has been shared on GMG. I hope that some of you, whether to enjoy, share, debate, question, investigate or teach me, come by Hobbit House Studio on Rocky Neck this summer to talk and see the complete series, which continues through the Book of Revelation (the times we are now entering into).  I have learned so much and grown a great deal through this series, but I still have much learning and growing to do, and we learn and grow best through sharing with each other.

“Each one teach one”, as the Rastafarians say.

E.J. Lefavour

HobbitHouseBannersm

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Why Abstract: The Art of Imagination

why abstract

Why Abstract: The Art of Imagination 

Paintings, mixed media, sculpture, photography and digital art by 23 New England artists

April 21 – May 30, 2016

The Cultural Center Gallery

6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

Gallery hours, Thurs-Sun, 12:00-4:00 PM

Meet the Artists Reception: Saturday, April 23, 4:00-6:00 PM

Artist Talks: Sunday, May 1, 2-4 pm and Sunday, May 22, 2-4 pm

Closing Celebration and award presentation: Friday, May 27, 4-6 PM

ABSTRACT ART EXHIBIT FEATURES 23 NEW ENGLAND ARTISTS

Gloucester MA, March 4, 2016—On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the Rocky Neck Art Colony opens the doors on “Why Abstract: The Art of Imagination” an invitational exhibition of abstract art curated by artist Matt Cegelis of Rockport. Featuring paintings, mixed media, photography and digital art by 23 artists, the exhibition examines why the artists choose abstraction as an expressive practice. Elements of mystery, imagination, discovery and more are also explored in artist statements and public discourse with the artists.

“Why Abstract” is on view April 21–May 30, 2016 at the Cultural Center Gallery at 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester during gallery hours, Thursday-Sunday 12:00-4:00 PM each week. The public is invited to a reception for artists and friends on Saturday, April 23, 4:00-6:00 PM.Additional public events during the exhibition include two Artist Talks on Sunday, May 1, 3:00-4:00 PM, and Sunday, May 22, 3:00-4:00 PM, and a Closing Celebration with a “Viewer’s Choice” award presentation on Friday, May 27, 4:00-6:00 PM.

Cape Ann Forum Presents

CAF_Walt

US EFFORTS TO “MANAGE” MIDEAST FUTILE, SAYS EXPERT

Time to step back & rethink our engagement

National security expert Stephen Walt will tackle the question of whether the United States should keep trying to manage the rivalries and conflicts in the Middle East at a free Cape Ann Forum at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 3 at Gloucester City Hall. His talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period moderated by popular journalist and radio commentator Christopher Lydon, the featured speaker at a 2014 forum on the future of global media.

CAF_Lydon

Walt’s answer to the question: An emphatic “no”. He argues that repeated efforts by presidents of both parties to meddle in the Middle East have failed, and it’s time to pull back and reassess, recognizing what we can and cannot realistically achieve.

“The Middle East today is riven by a series of overlapping conflicts along multiple fault lines, driven in good part by protracted government failures and exacerbated by misguided outside meddling,” says Walt. “When things are this bad, the need to rethink the entire U.S. approach to the region is hard to escape.”

Walt, who calls himself a “realist” in foreign policy, has little patience with interventionists on both sides of the aisle, criticizing “liberal hawks” and “neocons” in equal measure.

“The Islamic State wouldn’t exist if the neocons hadn’t led us blindly into Iraq, and Iran would have less reason to contemplate getting nuclear weapons if it hadn’t watched the United States throw its weight around in the region and threaten it directly with regime change,” he says.

But Walt is scathing, too, in his criticism of Democrats who supported the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya only to see the subsequent collapse of that country and the rise of the Islamic State there, and he dismisses U.S. attempts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians while doubling as Israel’s “strategic ally” as contradictory and bound to fail.

“Instead of acting like a hyperactive juggler dashing between a dozen spinning plates, maybe the best course is to step back even more than we have already,” he says.

But Walt, who situates his thinking within the “realism” tradition of people like George Kennan, Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr and Walter Lippmann, insists he is not an isolationist: “Realists believe military power is essential to preserving a state’s independence and autonomy, but they recognize it is a crude instrument that often produces unintended consequences.

“Realists believe nationalism and other local identities are powerful and enduring; states are mostly selfish; altruism is rare; trust is hard to come by; and norms and institutions have a limited impact on what powerful states do. In short, realists have a generally pessimistic view of international affairs and are wary of efforts to remake the world according to some ideological blueprint, no matter how appealing it might be in the abstract.”

Stephen Walt, who returns to the Cape Ann Forum for the second time, is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professsor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. His 2012 Forum on “The Twilight of the American Era” drew more than 100 people and sparked a vigorous discussion.

Walt has been a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has consulted for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He now serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and the Journal of Cold War Studies, and he is co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs.

The outspoken professor wrote The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award. He is also the author of Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (2005), and, with co-author John Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby (2007), which generated considerable debate for its critical view of the lobby’s influence in Washington.

This will be the 93rd Cape Ann Forum since the organization was founded after the 2001 terrorist attacks to increase public awareness of international issues and stimulate discussion and debate. The last event of the Forum’s 2015/2016 season features West Point grad and career-officer-turned-security-analyst Andrew Bacevich at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 15, on the challenges the U.S. faces on the global stage in the years ahead: “Why the U.S. keeps losing wars (but fights them anyway).”

For more information, go to the Forum’s website at www.capeannforum.org.

The Ascension

Ascension

The Ascension (24×30 mixed media)

The Ascension doesn’t occur until 40 days after the resurrection of  Jesus, during which time He appears to the Apostles and others.

Acts 1:6-11
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus and His disciples went to Mount Olivet, near Jerusalem. There, Jesus promised His followers that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, and He instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit had come. Then Jesus blessed them, and as He gave the blessing, He began to ascend into heaven. The account of Jesus’ ascension is found above in Acts, and in Luke 24.

It is plain from Scripture that Jesus’ ascension was a literal, bodily return to heaven. He rose from the ground gradually and visibly, observed by many intent onlookers. As the disciples strained to catch a last glimpse of Jesus, a cloud hid Him from their view, and two angels appeared and promised Christ’s return “in the same way that you saw Him go” (Acts 1:11).

The Ascension of Jesus Christ is significant for several reasons:

1. It signaled the end of His earthly ministry. God the Father had lovingly sent His Son into the world, and now the Son was returning to the Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.
2. It signified success in His earthly work. All that He had come to do, He had accomplished.
3. It marked the return of His heavenly glory. Jesus’ glory had been veiled during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).
4. It symbolized His exaltation by the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23). The One with whom the Father is well pleased (Matthew 17:5) was received up in honor and given a name above all names (Philippians 2:9).
5. It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
6. It indicated the beginning of His new work as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).
7. It set the pattern for His return. When Jesus comes to set up the Kingdom, He will return just as He left — literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds (Acts 1:11; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).  So do not be deceived by false reports of His return.  When He comes, everyone will see Him, and rejoice or tremble, depending upon their relationship with him.  Be one who will rejoice.

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Easter Sunday – The Resurrection

resurrection

The Resurrection (22×28 mixed media on canvas)

Mary Magdalene, not a harlot or prostitute as many mistakenly believe her to have been, but one whom Jesus cast seven demons from, and who traveled with and provided for Jesus and the apostles out of her means, is the first person the resurrected Jesus appears to. She encounters the angel in His tomb, sitting where his body had been lain after his death. Then Jesus appears to her.

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “my great master”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them the things he had said to her.

John 11:25-26

Jesus said to her (Mary, Lazarus’ sister, not Magdalene), “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is come into the world.”

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

With His Stripes We Are Healed

WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED

With His Stripes We Are Healed (22×28 mixed media)

The physical death of Jesus was a horrific thing. The physical abuse and pain of the beatings and scourging He received, the scorn and suffering of death by suffocation on the cross is impossible to imagine. However, His physical death was not the worst that has ever been suffered by a man. What Jesus suffered, and willingly sacrificed for our sakes, was going through physical death (which He could have chosen to walk away from at any point), but so much more — separation from God. Being part of God come into flesh to walk among us and show us the way, He who was without sin took upon Himself all the sins of mankind. At that moment (when He said: “Father, why have thou forsaken me?”), He had become the thing that God cannot abide, so God had to turn away – He became separated from Himself and became selfless, so that we might be redeemed. He became the ultimate perfect sacrifice for us.  Then he said: “It is finished.”  He had completed his purpose in coming here. God’s perfect plan had been put into place.

His tear is not from physical pain or His own suffering, it is for us. It is that tear of love and compassion so great that it makes you cry, multiplied billions of times.

Isaiah 53:1-7

“Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or comeliness that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. ”

This scripture is the only place in the Bible where Jesus is physically described.  Throughout time, artists who know and love God, have generally painted Jesus as this strikingly beautiful man, because through love’s eyes, that is how they see Him, just as anyone who is in love sees their beloved as beautiful.  In fact he was just an average looking Jew, with no imposing physique or physical beauty that would make people want to follow him.  They followed Him because of who He was, just as people do today.

I found it interesting that my assigned post time is 3:00pm, scripturally called the 9th hour, the exact time that Jesus is said to have uttered His final words and died, and so most appropriate for this post on Good Friday.

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

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