Return, not repent

I frequently drive by this train trestle on my way to centering prayer. I finally decided to take the time to stop and photograph it. This required that I drive past it and park at the entrance to a neighborhood and walk back.  There is no shoulder to the bridge I stood on so I had to be very mindful of traffic, and pray they would notice me.  I had not planned to do this so I wasn’t wearing bright clothing.  Army green is a neutral in my world.

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I admire the effort required to write this, and I love the colors and font. The word on it – repent – is problematic. The English word “Repent” has such weight. The original Hebrew word is “tshuvah”, which means “to return”. It isn’t about “paying for your sins” but turning away from them and walking towards life. Every moment of every day we have a choice – to choose life or choose death. And every time we make an unhealthy choice, we get the opportunity once again to turn around and get going in the right direction again. It isn’t about penance at all.

Consider when the Psalmist says in Psalm 103:12 –

“As far as the east is from the west / So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

– that the distance from east and west is simply a matter of direction, instead of distance.  If you are walking east, all you have to do to walk west is turn around.

God doesn’t care how far you are along the path of life – just as long as you are walking along it.  God cares which direction you are pointed.

When you notice that you’ve gotten turned around and are headed in the wrong direction (this is part of being human and happens to all of us) then all you have to do is turn back around towards Light and Life and the Lord.

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Stone Hall sketch 10-27-17

Back to Stone Hall this Friday. I’d thought about going to the great Catholic cemetery on Hermitage Avenue but the trees weren’t at their Autumnal peak yet. Plus, by the time I got back the traffic would be bad. That is something for a day when I get out of the house early. Leaving the house to have lunch at 2 puts a kink in sketching, especially when the sun sets by 5:45.

I walked around looking for a place to sketch and decided to do the front view as I’d considered the first time. I had to use a little bit of the panorama feature to get in all that I saw.

With sketching, you can get in more than a photo can see.

You also don’t have to treat it like a photo – you can highlight what you want, and leave out what you don’t.

Watercolor pencils on Strathmore mixed-media mini-journal. Around 3:30 to 4:30, 69 degrees.