June 08, 2021


Queen Anne’s Lace 03 05/16/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Starkville, Mississippi
What I am about to say
has nothing whatsoever to do
with the Eucharist,
The Last Supper,
except that the Eucharist
is an extension of
what I am about to say,
an elaboration,
a deliberate and intentional application,
as though Jesus is saying,
metaphorically, symbolically,
"This is the truth of how things are.
This is the revelation 
of what you (his disciples) are up against.
If you understand this,
and know how to read it,
you have nothing to fear,
because what you fear
is the doorway to a way of life
that is beyond fear,
and is the essence of life itself."

Which is the same thing Joseph Campbell
would say 2,000 or so years later,
with his,
"What you seek lies far back
in the darkest corner
of the cave you most do not want to enter."

Courage is all it takes.
Courage is the ground of life.
Campbell also said,
"It took the Cyclops
to bring out the hero in Ulysses."

The Cyclops did not give Ulysses courage.
The courage was already there,
waiting realization, application.

But, you can't coach courage.
It doesn't come from books,
or Ted Talks,
or PhD tracts. 
It is bought forth by the field of action.

When we stand up and step forward
to do what is called for
in each situation as it arises,
doing the right thing,
in the right way,
at the right time,
within the context and circumstances
in which in needs to be done,
there is courage.

We find what we need 
to do what needs to be done
in the act of doing it.
To hell with the consequences.

That is what the Eucharist is about.
If you think it is about Jesus dying,
you miss the point.
It is about YOUR/MY dying--
again and again,
in each situation as it arises,
for the sake of what is called for
by the situation--
"Without hope,
without witness,
without reward"
(Steven Moffat, Dr. Who).

Here's what I have to say about that,
which is borne out in the lived experience
of every human being across time,
who had what it takes,
to stand up and step forward
and do what needs to be done
in each here and now of existence:

The cup of suffering 
is the cup of salvation.

The bread of affliction
is the bread of life.

Eating this bread
and drinking this cup
is your template
for standing up and stepping forward
into the situation as it arises,
and doing there what is called for,
what needs to be done,
without hesitation or consideration,
for no other reason
than because it needs to be done.

And you will find in the doing
all you need to do what needs to be done,
all the way.

Life is found in dying
to all that you fear,
in the far back
of the darkest corner
of the cave you 
most don't want to enter.

All it takes is seeing,
and the courage to do 
what needs to be done 
about it.

Every day.
For the rest of your life.



Wheat Field 02 Panorama 06-08-2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
How we live in response to our life--
both of them--
the one we are living
and the one that is ours to live--
is where we bring ourselves forth--
where we are brought forth--
in the time and place of our living.

The life that is ours to live
is generally the un-lived life
that waits to be lived.

This is the life we were born to live,
the life we are equipped to live,
the life that is sat aside,
much like Adam and Eve sat aside
their life in the Garden of Eden,
in favor of the life we have in mind
for ourselves,
or the life that is selected for us
by the circumstances of our living.

Our parents are poor,
or rich,
or a war comes along,
or a plague,
and that changes everything.

How do we live in light of all of this?
What directs our path?
Guides our steps?
What do we live toward?
Away from?
What governs our response to our life?

How consciously do we approach our life?
The one we are living
and the one that is ours yet--
even now,
even so--
to live?

How aware are we of each life?
Of the choices we make between them?
Who are we living to please?
To be?

How important is it to us
to bring ourselves forth
in the time left for living?



Red Hydrangea 02 06/01/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Carolina

We do not think our way forward,
we feel our way there--
and yet,
there is the difference between
imprudent and prudent action
(Joseph Campbell).

Jesus told the man working on the Sabbath
(in Codex Bezae)
that he had to know what he was doing,
and live intentionally,
directed by the center/source
of life and being.

We are responsible for our actions--
responsible for living out of our own center,
out of our sense of what we must do,
and not be directed by society
or the shoulds and oughts of our parents.

We take our instruction from ourselves
but, we have to be right about its importance to us.
We can't be kidding ourselves.

Photography matters to me.
I'm not just carrying a camera around.
And I've been writing these little treatises 
throughout my retirement,
over ten years now and counting.
That's an indication of what they mean to me.
And I have to do both
the photography and the writing well--
that's a tell-tale sign of what matters to you,
how well you have to do it.

So, we live from our heart,
but our mind and will are in on the effort.
We are united in the action that is called for.
and do it whether we feel like it or not,
whether we are in the mood or not.

We are the servant,
not the master,
and live with our art
in a "thy will, not mine, be done"
kind of way.

And we do not think up what we must do,
we realize it,
and the game is on!

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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