Author Archives: E.J.

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

God Makes Dental Appointments and Fixes Refrigerators

God fixes teeth and refrigerators

When I get engrossed in a project, like I have been this winter, I let everything else slide, including my healthcare. I had been suffering with tooth pain for a number of weeks, and just kept applying Orajel and carrying on.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed a voicemail message I had missed.  When I listened to it, it was the dentist’s office calling to remind me of an appointment I had never made.  Unfortunately, or so I initially thought, the appointment had been for the prior day.  I called the office and explained that I had missed the message, but also that I hadn’t scheduled an appointment.  They said that they had called me by mistake, but since they had me on the phone we should schedule an appointment.  The earliest one they had available was in April, which I took.  Later that day I got another call from the office, saying they just had a cancellation and could I come the next day.  I went and had x-rays and an exam, and found I had a badly infected tooth that needed to be pulled.  I also had a cavity and needed to schedule a cleaning.  When I was leaving, and went to the desk to schedule follow up appointments, the receptionist said: “This is your lucky day.  We just had a cancellation, so can you come tomorrow?”

Some people would say it was luck, or coincidence; but I know who was behind it, and no one could ever convince me otherwise. The tooth was pulled, pain is gone, and I’m happy.

Then my refrigerator started making this dreadful loud grinding noise. It would happen intermittently at first, but then more and more frequently.  A few nights ago I had to unplug it overnight so I could sleep.  I plugged it back in the next morning and it was quiet for a while, then the dreadful noise came back.  I told God I had a refrigerator problem and needed help.  I looked online for refrigerator repair places and decided to call Donyon’s.  They said they would come the next day and it would be $140 for the service call and repair, unless I needed part(s) which would be extra.  After I hung up, God told me to move the refrigerator, which I started to do, unbalancing a large vase stored on the top back of the fridge in the process, which smashed on the floor behind it.  I plugged in the fridge, pushed it back in place, and returned to painting, not wanting to deal with pulling it all the way out to clean up the broken vase.  Since that happened, the fridge has not made a single peep, and is even quieter than it was before it started making the dreadful noise.  It was being so quiet I had to open it to make sure it was still running.  I thanked God, then called and cancelled the service appointment.

Without pulling the fridge all the way out and looking, I don’t know exactly what happened back there, but I think God used a piece of the broken vase to wedge in and fix whatever was causing all the racket.  As long as there isn’t something dead, I don’t worry about what is behind the fridge, so I won’t be looking behind it any time soon.  I will continue to be grateful for my refrigerator and dental miracles.

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Field of Blood

field of blood

Field of Blood (22×28 mixed media)

There are two accounts of the death of Judas, one in Matthew, telling of his hanging, and one by Luke in Acts, talking about him falling headlong, bursting open in the middle and his bowels gushing out. Since Luke was a doctor, it is fitting that he would focus on the latter. I didn’t want to paint the bowel gushing, so I painted the hanging with accompanying clues to how the latter occurs. The little black bird on the hanging rope will peck away at it until it breaks under the dead weight of Judas, causing him to fall headlong into the sharp rocks below him, bursting him in the middle so his bowels will gush out. I don’t really believe that a little bird caused it, more likely the dead weight of Judas’ body causing the rope or tree limb to break. The vultures are circling and waiting patiently for the latter to occur to make their meal easier. A fitting end to a man whose sins included worshipping the idol of his greed, sacrificing his Lord to his love for money, and causing the shed of innocent blood. But in the end, it needed to happen to fulfill prophesy and for God’s plan for salvation of man to come into play.

Matthew 27:1-10

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Acts 1:16-19

“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. “For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood).”

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Kiss of Death

kiss of death

Mattew 26:14-16

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

Mattew 26:47-50

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

While we cannot be absolutely certain why Judas betrayed Jesus, some things are certain. While Judas was chosen to be one of the Twelve, all scriptural evidence points to the fact that he never believed Jesus to be God. He may not even have been convinced that Jesus was the Messiah (at least as he understood it). Unlike the other disciples that called Jesus “Lord,” Judas instead called him “Rabbi,” which acknowledged Jesus as nothing more than a teacher. While other disciples at times made great professions of faith and loyalty, Judas never did so. This lack of faith in Jesus is the foundation for the other issues listed below. The same holds true for us. If we fail to recognize Jesus as God incarnate, and therefore the only One who can provide forgiveness for our sins, and the eternal salvation that comes with it, we lose in the end.

Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little personal relationship with Him. When the synoptic gospels list the Twelve, they are always listed in the same general order, with slight variations. The general order is believed to indicate the relative closeness of their personal relationship with Jesus. Despite the variations, Peter and the brothers James and John, are always listed first, which is consistent with their relationships with Jesus. Judas is always listed last.   Additionally, the only documented dialogue between Jesus and Judas involves Judas being rebuked after his greed motivated remark to Mary (John 12:1-8), his denial of his betrayal (Matthew 26:25), and the betrayal itself (Luke 22:48).

Judas was consumed with greed to the point of betraying the trust of not only Jesus, but also his fellow disciples, as we see in John 12:5-6. Judas may have desired to follow Jesus simply because he saw an opportunity to profit from collections taken for support of the group.

Judas, like most Jews at the time, believed the Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take a position of power ruling over the nation of Israel. Judas may have followed Jesus hoping to benefit from association with Him as the new reigning political power. No doubt he expected to be among the ruling elite after the revolution. By the time of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus had made it clear that He planned to die, not start a rebellion against Rome. So Judas may have assumed, as the Pharisees did, that since He would not overthrow the Romans, He was not the Messiah they were anticipating. In the end, he played the part necessary for God’s plan of salvation for all men to come into being.  That doesn’t make what Judas did right or acceptable, because it came down to his own choice, but shows that God can take even our worst and turn it to be to his glory.

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Get Out Your Running Shoes!

rocky neck 5k

The Rocky Neck 5K Run/Walk & Team Challenge will be held this year on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Participants registered before May 1 will receive a custom Rocky Neck 5K T-shirt.

Go to www.rockyneck5k.com to register online or visit the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. to obtain a paper registration form.

The event is sponsored by the Rocky Neck Art Colony to benefit Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Cultural District and the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck Building Fund.  With chip-timed results, participants may compete individually or as a team in the popular Team Challenge.  The Run/Walk along the breathtakingly beautiful seaside course will be capped off by a festive post-Race brunch celebration on the deck at Rocky Neck’s The Studio Restaurant.

The Rocky Neck 5K Run/Walk & Team Challenge is a fun community ‘happening’ to benefit RNAC, a neighborhood-based, volunteer organization committed to preserving Rocky Neck’s unique arts and maritime cultural heritage.   Open to all, beginners can experience the joy of exercise in the outdoors while  experienced runners can sharpen their times on a forgiving course.  Everyone will enjoy creating memories individually or in a team with colleagues, family and friends.

The Team Challenge provides a great opportunity for groups from businesses, non-profits, clubs and affiliations of every size to show their colors, build organizational pride and share an experience to be long remembered.

The USATF (United States of America Track and Field) sanctioned event will take off from the Causeway on Rocky Neck.  It will return along Gloucester’s ocean-rimmed Back Shore to finish on Rocky Neck where all participants are invited for a celebratory post-Race brunch and awards  ceremony at The Studio Restaurant and Deck overlooking picturesque Smith Cove on Gloucester Harbor.

The Race start will be at 9 a.m., with packet pickup at Race Headquarters in the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck from 7:00 AM to 8:45 AM. Race participation is limited to 400.  Participants registered before May 1 will receive a custom Rocky Neck 5K T-shirt.

If spots are still available on Race day, walk-in registration will be from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Sign up early to insure participation. Go to www.rockyneck5k.com to register online or visit the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. to obtain a paper registration form.

Volunteers will be positioned to direct visitors to street parking as well as  designated lots in and around Rocky Neck.  Space will be available in Rocky Neck Park along the Causeway for everyone to meet and warm up before the Race kicks off.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Gilbert Lee

Executive Director

Rocky Neck Art Colony

6 Wonson Street

Gloucester, MA 01930

978-515-7004

director@rockyneckartcolony.org

www.rockyneckartcolony.org

The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck is generally open Thursday – Sunday year round.

Seasonal Hours are: June through September 20: 12-6pm, September 24 through May 12-4pm

Gallery 53 on Rocky Neck, 53 Rocky Neck Avenue is open seasonally May – October, seven days a week, 10am-6pm daily

Please visit all the galleries of the Rocky Neck Art Colony.

Galleries are located on Rocky Neck Avenue, the Madfish Wharf, Wonson Street and more! 

Please visit www.rockyneckartcolony.org for the pdf download of our walking map & brochure, as well as a calendar of events.

The Last Supper, aka The Lord’s Supper

last supper

This is a non traditional Last Supper painting. The Apostles are standing and talking, having just arrived, rather than reclining or sitting at the long table which disappears out of the painting, and they are Jews, not Europeans. Mary Magdalene, who is sometimes but not always included, is in the front, and she is black, as she is believed to have come from Ethiopia. Mary loved Jesus dearly, and is the one He first appears to after His Resurrection, so she is given more prominence. Judas has no halo and his hands are red with the blood of his impending betrayal of Jesus to the Sanhedrin for the thirty silver coins in the satchel he is clutching. Jesus is seated at the head of the table, as on a throne. The table contains only a loaf of bread and a glass of wine, the most important elements of the Last Supper, and representing the sacrament of communion celebrated by His followers to this day. Above the halo of Jesus is Earth and the Star of David, representing the Line of David that Jesus came from as well the Jews He came as Messiah for, but they knew him not. The gentiles, however, did, and according to God’s plan from the beginning, salvation through faith in Christ was made available to the world. The setting sun, red sky and background represent evening Passover meal time, the sun setting on the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, and the red of His blood that would flow the next day. The tree outside the window is a fig tree, symbolizing the Nation of Israal, and the tree he would be nailed to.

Present are the apostles: Andrew, Bartholomew aka Nathanael, James the Elder, James the Lesser or Younger, John, Judas, Jude aka Thaddeus, Matthew aka Levi, Peter aka Simon Peter, Philip, Simon the Zealot, and Thomas.

Matthew 26:26-28

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The Last Supper is what we call the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before His betrayal and arrest. It was more than Jesus’ last meal; it was a Passover meal, as well. One of the important moments of the Last Supper is Jesus’ command to remember what He was about to do on behalf of all mankind: shed His blood on the cross thereby paying the debt of our sins (Luke 22:19).

In addition to predicting His suffering and death for our salvation (Luke 22:15–16), Jesus also used the Last Supper to imbue the Passover with new meaning, institute the New Covenant, establish an ordinance for the church, and foretell Peter’s denial of Him (Luke 22:34) and Judas Iscariot’s betrayal (Matthew 26:21–24).

The Last Supper brought the Old Testament observance of the Passover feast to its fulfillment. Passover was an especially holy event for the Jewish people in that it commemorated the time when God spared them from the plague of physical death and brought them out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 11:1—13:16). During the Last Supper with His apostles, Jesus took two symbols associated with Passover and imbued them with fresh meaning as a way to remember His sacrifice, which saves us from spiritual death and delivers us from spiritual bondage: “After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:17–20).

The Last Supper was rooted in the Old Covenant even as it heralded the New. Jeremiah 31:31 promised a New Covenant between God and Israel, in which God said, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). Jesus made a direct reference to this New Covenant during the Last Supper: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). A new dispensation was on the horizon. In God’s grace, the New Covenant applies to more than Israel; everyone who has faith in Christ will be saved (see Ephesians 2:12–14).

The Last Supper was a significant event and proclaimed a turning point in God’s plan for the world. In comparing the crucifixion of Jesus to the feast of Passover, we can readily see the redemptive nature of Christ’s death. As symbolized by the original Passover sacrifice in the Old Testament, Christ’s death atones for the sins of His people; His blood rescues us from death and saves us from slavery. Today, the Lord’s Supper is when believers reflect upon Christ’s perfect sacrifice and know that, through our faith in receiving Him, we will be with Him forever (Luke 22:18; Revelation 3:20). From http://www.gotquestions.org/Last-Supper.html

Pascha, Easter and Easter Eggs

easter eggs and easter

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

The exact origins of this religious feast day’s name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter.

Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance. Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before Lent, known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples; Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-day period following Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

In addition to Easter’s religious significance, it also has a commercial side, as evidenced by the mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring. As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy, have become a standard part of this holy holiday.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-easter

Easter Eggs

At the Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes both new life and the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The ancient Persians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration falling on the Spring Equinox. This tradition has continued every year on Nowrooz since ancient times.

The Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent. In the Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent as well as other traditional fast days. During the strict Lenten fast of forty days no eggs were eaten. It was traditional to use up all of the household’s eggs before Lent began, which established the tradition of Pancake Day.  In Eastern Christianity, both meat and dairy are still prohibited during the fast, and eggs are seen as “dairy” (a foodstuff that could be taken from an animal without shedding its blood). That is the reason why eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. It was during Easter that the consumption of eggs resumed after the strict Lenten fast. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants. And this is probably the reason why eggs came to be associated with Easter. Read more at http://www.theholidayspot.com/easter/history/icons/easter_egg.htm#GXsZoKAGhe5PaktI.99

E.J. Lefavour

The Golden Calf

moses and the golden calf

After giving Moses the inscribed tablets, God tells him to go down because his people had made themselves a golden idol cast in the shape of a calf, and were bowing down and sacrificing to it. God is not happy about it, and Moses is furious.

By way of backstory, this happens three months after God has led the 600,000 Israelites out of their 430 years of captivity in Egypt. These people witnessed the ten plagues brought down on Egypt which caused Pharoah to finally let them go, and then the parting of the Red Sea so they could escape when Pharoah’s army was sent to recaptue them after Pharoah realized he had just let all his slave labor go, and then manna from heaven God sent to nourish them during their journey. In short, they had witnessed amazing displays of God’s power on their behalf, and yet they still made and bowed down to a golden calf. We are still the same today. No matter what blessings in life, gifts and miracles God showers us with, we still sin (miss the mark, become forgetful, not conscious) and turn to the golden calf of our choosing.

Exodus 32:15-20

Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”

Moses replied: “It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.”

When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

(Note: The earliest recorded use of gold for medicinal and healing purposes come from Alexandria, Egypt. Over 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians ingested gold for mental, bodily and spiritual purification. The ancients believed that gold in the body worked by stimulating the life force and raising the level of vibration on all levels. Moses and the Israelites had recently come out of a long stint in Egypt, so his making the wayward Israelites drink the gold makes sense under the circumstances.)

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

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