Thursday, June 02, 2005

what the stars say to me

Before you read on, I am not trying to proselytize or even get up on a soapbox this is simply my accounting of how my view of the Universe changed.

When I look up at the myriads of stars, on a clear waned moon night, I no longer feel insignificant in the Universe. Knowing that pain and joy, the travails of life all have meaning changes the way you see the night sky. The stars answer you and say “You have such value that the God of Love gave you birth so that you could have the benefit of marveling at its astonishing wonder and awe”. No shit! It blows my mind! It is bigger than big-bang!

When I was a young man, I’d often lie on the sandy beaches of Lake Huron, far from the light pollution of the cities and look up at the night sky. I’d cry out in PAIN to the stars beseeching them to answer my call as to “Why such pain had to BE?” Looking up at the stars, then sometimes under a veil of tears, I always felt so small, microscopic, insignificant, next to a spiral galaxy some 60 million light years away – Virgo - in the Milky Way.

Messier Galaxy

As I laid there alienated from myself and blemished in creation the stars reply was silence; deafening and resounding silence. My tears were met with a numbing stillness until the LOVE of GOD was revealed to me through Christ. His gift to us in dying for pain had such meaning and value that God himself was humiliated onto a Cross, for my sufferings and to liberate me from them. Christ died so that the pain of sin and our estrangement from creation would be remedied.

If God is Love and in Love, no evil can dwell, God gave forewarning to our forebears what the knowledge of Good and Evil would result in -- DEATH. Sin is the cannibalization of our existence through pain, suffering, consternation, alienation, and finally death. Death being the absence of life is complete estrangement from GOD, the Ying of Yang without the Taoism, LIGHT and not DARKNESS, nor LOVE but EVIL. Death is the outcome of knowing evil and I have known such evil. I have been in the belly of the fish and scorched my flesh on the ambers of HADES – complete estrangement from the God of Love but for grace.
The stars only began to answer that I truly had value in the cosmos when I realized this truth and acted on it in faith, accepting Christ’s gift of forgiveness and honouring God by trying not to sin again. Yes, I have failed miserably too many times but God’s love is bigger than my hubris.
I have never seen an angel or spoken to a fiery bush. Waves have not parted before me, nor have I survived the terror of pestilence by a mark on my door. My good friends always asserted that when I became a Christian it was a result of too many pressures. That my traveling the world, exhibiting, performing, lecturing and with my then chemical dependency of living the life of a junkie. They said my visions of “hell in paradise” were the manifestations of a nervous breakdown. I never discounted that as certainty but the fact remained that the God of Love used those experiences to reveal the truth of life and death, good and evil, to me. The fact I may have had a nervous breakdown could not remove the truth revealed to me through coming to that point and having a breakdown. Where it not for God’s message, that all sufferings have such an inexorable value that Christ gave his life for it, were it not for that I would be dead.

Tribeca and the World Trade Center Towers
New York City, spring 2001

I would not have suffered the indignities that life and I myself have served out. There have been days when the cruelty of life outweighed life itself. Such terror, human depravation have I seen in life, climaxed with the coming down of the World Trade Center Towers in New York while working there on an exhibition of my art. I would have joined Camus and Socrates, nodding in accord to the Apostle Paul with his conclusion that “If the truth of Christ is but a lie and dead are not Risen, let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” I might have even speed the process up had I the same elevation as the victims above the 80th floor, forgive the metaphor. No, I have always chosen life and life is to know and experience love!

Whirlpool Galaxy

Now when I look up at the night sky knowing what I do, I feel as though I truly belong. Indeed, it says that I am whole with the universe, as well as dwelling in it. It says to me that I, all of me, my joys and consternations have value, my life is meaningful. My pain is sanctified in the marks left on Christ’s Resurrected body. Yes, Christ carried the marks of his wounds even to have Thomas investigate them empirically. My only reply is to say, Alleluia, all praise, honour and glory be to the God of Love made manifest in Christ Jesus. No greater JOY have I ever known; oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory? Let us sow, sustain, harvest, and be merry for tomorrow we will be resurrected carrying our wounds as marks of our sanctification in Christ.



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