The Painting "The Word Made Flesh" The meditation can be found below.
Christian Art and Meditations by Barbara M. Kozera
“The Creator” by Barbara M. Kozera
The painting is 18" by 36"
From the book: Spiritual Wellness for Christians
Using Written and Painted Meditations
O Lord God of hosts, who is as mighty as you,
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea; you still them,
The heavens are yours the earth also is yours;
These words from Psalm 89: 8-9,11 are the scriptural inspiration for The Creator that this painting tries to picture and explain some of the Christian messages of love and God's indwelling presence within us. There is an unfolding story in this painting that centers on the Lord God, Jesus, hanging on a star-filled cross, connecting the earth to the endless vastness of space expressing the words, “Yours are the heavens, yours the earth.” The belief that Jesus existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit at the time of creation and that the entire Trinity accomplished the work of creation is essential in understanding The Creator. Jesus’ relationship as part of the triune creator is affirmed in John 1:3: “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” Jesus suspended on a star-filled cross attempts to reveal not only a triune mystery but also a mystery of God's love that is pictured as the vast ocean. A reference of God's great love for us is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life.”
Pray to understand the complexity of the Holy Trinity.
The lightning bolts and the thunderhead behind Jesus in the painting represent the enduring human struggle to feel a loving-kindness relationship with God. These lightning bolts symbolically emit copious amounts of energy, yet they strike only a portion of the expansive ocean of God's love. In a torment of flashing energy, they send out the message that eons have passed, and God's love can only be slightly felt, if at all by most people. The deep felt need for a loving-kindness relationship with God, can cause feelings that are just as real and intense as the energy the thunderhead releases as a psalmist long ago felt and recorded in Psalm 63:1;
O God, you are my God, I seek you
my soul thirsts for you,
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land,
where there is no water.
There is an agony that exists in this type of profound yearning that feels like a desert dwelling in the innermost part of our being. This need for Gods' love can be filled by Jesus who is always present and represented in the painting by the swelling ocean waves moving from the horizon towards the rocks.
Pray to Jesus to feel God's loving-kindness.
Jesus knew people needed help to quell these feelings of emptiness so he sent Christians the Holy Spirit to remind them of Jesus' words and who will teach us God's ways as noted in the following passages from John.
‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,
to be with you forever.’
But, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my
name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have
said to you.
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father, he will testify on my
The Holy Spirit is represented as a wispy, white cloud enveloping and comforting Jesus in the painting. A paradox is pictured as Jesus is in the process of leaving the world, while the Holy Spirit's presence is coming to the earth to continue the mission of Jesus' kingdom alive in us, and teaching us that Jesus is the “light of the world.”
Pray to feel the comfort and learn from the Holy Spirit.
The symbolic white rays of light shining from the wounds of Christ are inspired by John 8: 12; “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus can lead a willing person out of the darkness of moral and spiritual depravity and into lives filled with the light of God’s ways. The rocks in the foreground represent any follower of Jesus. These rocks began their long journey towards the light of Jesus when they broke away from the tall weather worn cliffs that represent sins like pride. Pride carries a negative characteristic that became the number-one offensive sin of monastic life under the influence of Thomas Aquinas, (1225-1274) the list of sins are; pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. The sin of pride links itself with arrogance in Proverb 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Pray to let Jesus the "light of the world" guide you away from sins like pride.
Sins, like pride, are a powerful force, but God’s awesome ways to combat sins are greater. God’s ways are represented by the ocean waves that continually pound against the cliffs breaking off pieces and reshaping them into pieces of rock. This divine message that pounds at us to change our ways for the better becomes a necessity if we want a fruitful spiritual life. The numerous symbols the starry sky, the ocean, the thunderhead, the lightning, the cliffs, the rocks, and central among them, the image of Creator, Lord God Jesus, all come together to represent a spiritual journey that continues to evolve and help us to grow closer to “light of the world”, Jesus.
Pray in Jesus' name that God the Father will fill you with the Holy Spirit and that you grow ever more in God's ways
Questions for your consideration:
1. Can you identify with Lord God Jesus as the, Creator, Jesus?
2. Do you believe that people have innate yearnings for a loving relationship with God?
3. Can you identify with the struggle people have in drawing close to God? If so, why?
4. Do you believe that Jesus can reach out to help you?
5. What thoughts have come to you after reflecting on the painting of
The painting of THE CREATOR was started in August of 1997. The picture was completed three months later in October. The ocean scene was inspired from photographs a friend and I took at different locations around Avila beach and Moonstone beach California. The cloud photographs were also taken from the same area. Love for the wonder of God's creation is the essence of this painting for me.
“The City of God” by Barbara M. Kozera
The painting is 24" by 36"
From: Painted Meditations and Meditations with Stories Inspired by the Holy Spirit
THE CITY OF GOD
Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and everyone who searches finds; and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7
The verse from Matthew 7:7 is the inspiration for the “City of God” and was painted as a tribute to all who search seeking a closer union with God allowing the mystical or spiritual part of you to grow. Symbolically the great stone arch and doorway represents our searching for God, like walking beside a stone-wall for miles and miles over many years and all of a sudden finding an open doorway: The doorway we have asked God to open for us:
Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and
everyone who searches finds; and for everyone who knocks, the
door will be opened. Matthew 7:7 (NRSV)
The message that Matthew presents to a person is to ask, search, find, and knock, because divine help awaits you. But, in this case the door opens to a rocky difficult looking pathway, not lush green pastures! The door was found but it is the beginning of another journey. The visible pathway soon continues out of sight representing a place where self-examination begins. There are times when we examine our lives with its motives, beliefs and actions that make it feel like a crucifixion, represented by the cross on the door: We ask for forgiveness and Jesus gives it. The self-examination path ends in front of a dark tomb with the light of a "new life" resurrection shinning forth inspired by Acts 5:19-21:
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.
“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. (NIV)
This light brings forth the fullness of God’s love and grace. Isaiah is often used typologically for Jesus because there are wonderful metaphors that explain a new life in Jesus found in Isaiah such as found in Isaiah 40:31:
They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. (NAB)
These words proclaim a belief in renewed strength for those who hope in the Lord.
The strength from Jesus for the next part of the journey begins at the entrance of the open door symbolized by a clay pot with a vine growing out from it for Jesus is the vine as told in John 15: 1, 5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower...you are the branches.” In John 15: 7 we are told:
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done
for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father
has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. (NRSV)
On this journey we feel so embraced by Jesus' love. The buds on the vine are symbolic too for they drip with the “fine oil of gladness,” as told in Psalm 45:7 and Hebrews 1:9. The significance of being part of Jesus’ vine cannot be over stated. These verses report some of Jesus’ parting words to the Apostles, but these words hold true for us as well. The fruits that we should bring forth are the gifts of the Holy Spirit as related in Galatians 5:22-26:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to
Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by
the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and
envying each other.
What wonderful gifts to receive love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Take time everyday to reflect on these gifts and ask Jesus to increase them in you and let your harvest be bountiful!
Lastly, behind and above the tomb a symbolic cloud carried on the backs of three angles has taken on the characteristics of places of worship that are filled with prayers for eons as we wait for the “New Jerusalem” where places of worship are not needed. This “New Jerusalem” awaits believers in Jesus Christ as reported and seen by John in Revelations 21:22:
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light,
and the lamb is its lamp.
On a spiritual journey one would do well to reflect on what awaits us after we die, this "New Jerusalem” for our "new lives" do not end with death but live on because of Jesus' sacrifice. The city of God in the painting, filled with prayers for eons, is not the one found in Revelation, for it has yet to come. This “City of God” was painted as a tribute to all who seek a closer union with God and allow the mystical or spiritual parts of you to grow.
Let us pray every day for growth in our "new life" in Christ Jesus.
Thoughts for your consideration:
1. Seeking God opens new doorways, new ways of seeing things. Haveyou experienced this newness?
Was the journey to newness difficult?
2. What will it take to achieve your New Jerusalem?
3. How can you tell if you have a mystical or spiritual realm in you? In another person?
4. Have you seen “light of life” that comes from Jesus in the eyes of another?
Did you feel the love of God as they looked at you?
************* ***************** **************
The painting "The Word Made Flesh" is at the heading of all three sites; the meditation follows:
“When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the
mountain smoking they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance”... Exodus 20:18
And now, you conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you will
name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the
Most High" Luke 1:31-32
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give
you rest.” Matthew 11:28
These three scripture are the foundations that represent the three interrelated periods of time in the painting of “The Word Made Flesh.” All of these eras weave a common thread describing the relationship between God and people. The changing relationships all use different symbols for each of the eras. Beginning with the covenant era, represented by a huge rock and the hand of God, the relationship with God and the Israelites’ grows more contentious as the year's progress until the coming of Jesus. The next era, illustrates the coming of the incarnate God, Jesus, represented by a tiny hand that reaches upwards from a stone cradle. The altar that witnesses to Jesus’ power to cleanse people from past sins is the symbol for next era. Lastly, a picture of the resurrected hand of Jesus calling all people to “come follow me” and live a new life reconciles the broken divine relationship pictured in the beginning era.
The journey through these different eras begins with the covenant period. The Exodus people's relationship with God is represented by the huge fractured conglomerate of rock. The mysterious looking hand coming out of an enormous storm cloud shows God writing the Ten Commandments. God has Moses bring the people to Mount Sinai where the divine presence results in a fear of God at as reported in
When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet,
and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance... Moses
told the people: ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and put the fear of him
in you so that you do not sin’.
The instilling of fear to turn people from sin does not appear to work, because Moses, told by God that the Israelites are dancing before a golden calf, throws the first set of stone tablets to the ground breaking the Decalogue into many pieces, Exodus 32:19. This event is like a foreshadowing of how the Israelites would obey these laws. There is a fracture in the covenant relationship between God and the chosen people that has been recorded in less than ten chapters of Exodus. And this fractured relationship continues, time and time again, books in the Hebrew Testament such as 1 and 2 Kings tells of the Israelite people falling into pagan practices and or living lives of duplicity and hypocrisy. The failures of the Israelite people, and those of future generations, are represented by the pathway that leads toward a desert wasteland. The desert wasteland becomes a symbol of a lost people who do not know their God as spoken of by the prophet Hosea. These verses tell of a God who dearly loves his children, but they do not know nor feel the love their God has for them.
Hosea 11: 1-4:
When Israel was a child, I
and out of Egypt I called
The more I called them
the more they went from me
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and offering incense to Idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim
I took them in my arms;
but they did not know that I
I led them with cords of human
with bands of love.
I was to them like those
who lift infants to their
I bent down to them and
The Hebrew Testament relates events from the covenant period and beyond that tells of a people who received divine help, but fear, coupled with many poor and harmful decisions, disconnected their once close relationship with God symbolized by the impenetrable looking mountain range beyond the fractured rock and the desert. But, Jesus came to earth to heal this disconnected relationship between God and humankind and makes a close loving relationship with God a reality for all those who desire to live a good Christian life.
Pray to Jesus to heal any and mend any separations in your relationship with God.
The story of Jesus’ birth as God incarnate, in the book of Luke, establishes not only the heritage, from the lineage of King David, and Jesus' mission to establish a kingdom, but foremost these verses establish the divinity Jesus as the Son of God.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You
will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will
be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne
of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never
end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (NIV)
The symbol for God incarnate, the tiny hand of Jesus rising from under the blanket, reaches towards a great void symbolizing the lost relationship between people and God. The desolation around the stone manger represents the people who refuse believe Jesus is the Son of God. The ruins of a city scattered in front of it represent the kingdom that is “not from this world,” John 18:36 but is yet to come, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth" Revelation 21:1a.
Pray to Jesus and ask to help you understand His life on earth more fully.
The primary symbol for Jesus’ power to cleanse people from sins is the endless altar that rises up from the ruins of the city in front of the manager. To better understand the effect of this cleansing it helps to juxtapose the endless altar with the first altar reported in scripture built by Noah.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took from every clean animal and every clean bird he
offered offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said
in his heart, 'I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the
human heart are evil from youth.
Noah brought clean animals and clean birds to the altar to die in a holocaust whereas Jesus cleanses the “evil” human heart through His death, atonement. And the cleansing from sins continues in the sacrifice upon an altar of Jesus' Eucharistic gift of bread and wine as related in
Mark 14: 22-24:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup,
gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of
the covenant, which is poured out for many,’...
Pray to Jesus to receive all the healing and strength the Eucharist can bring into your life.
The symbols for the Eucharist consist of wine flowing out of a well and into another symbol, a wheat field from which the bread is made. The first disciples ate the Eucharist meal, a reconciling meal, but they did not realize that Jesus’ mission in establishing “the kingdom” was to cleanse and bring new life to all people. This would be accomplished through the many gifts of the Holy Spirit that will flow out of us like water.
The Gospel of John tells of the Holy Spirit’s ability to flow out of disciples like “springs of water”, John 3:14 or “rivers of living water,” John 7:38. These symbolic living waters, the stream and well, divide the Hebrew era from Jesus era on earth. The first mention of living waters is found in the story of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, John 4:1-42. In the story, Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for some water to drink and she reacts with disbelief, for Jewish men do not ask Samaritan women for anything. Jesus tells her that: “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” John 4:14. There is more to this story but she wants this water. The Holy Spirit and it's living waters are powerful and can send forth fruits to believers like, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" Galatians 5:22.
Pray to Jesus and ask for these gifts to grow in you.
The numerous small white rocks and bones scattered near the wheat field represent fragmented beliefs. Some people who accept the teachings of Jesus still cling to many of their old beliefs, like the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai returned to their old beliefs. A person’s or a group’s belief system can become fragmented, some old and some new ways like pieces of rock and bone. A conversion process can “cover” you with knowledge and love of God a little more each day, like allegory of the dry bones from
Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause
breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you,
and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin,
and put breath in you, and you so shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord.
Saint Paul tells Christians we are called to be “the one Body of Christ” 1 Corinthians 10:17 but, in order to be the one Body of Christ, we must allow the Holy Spirit to renew our old “bones.”
Pray to God that the Holy Spirit comes to you to renew any old bones that you may still have.
The resurrected right hand of Jesus is an invitation that beckons all people to live a new life and let go of old ways, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28 NIV. Jesus is saying to the burdened that He will remove the burden and totally embrace them with the Spirit of God that will renew them give them rest. This long sought after renewal can be found in another image of Jesus, as seen by Christians, and can be found in the book of Isaiah were Isaiah speaks of people who want to renew themselves in the Lord.
Isaiah 40: 31;
but those who wait in the Lord shall renew their strength they shall mount up with
wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint.
Pray that Jesus sends you a Spirit of renewal.
The journey to let go of old ways and live a life as a disciple of Jesus is not always easy. There will be times of hardship that are symbolized by the expanse of water. Some times this part of the journey, feels like paddling a small boat, day after day, paddling on a vast body of water and all of this paddling draws the destination no closer. The writings of Saint Peter explain some of the processes that disciples undertake to “become participants of the divine nature.” This is a somewhat long passage of 2 Peter 1: 1-10 so I have divided it into four sections of content, faith, escape from corruption, tools to support faith, importance of the knowledge of Jesus;
Simeon Peter, a servant an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through
righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ;
May grace and peace be yours in abundance in knowledge of
God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and
godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his
own glory and goodness.
Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very
great promises, so that through them you may escape from
corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become
participants of the divine nature.
For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness
and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control
with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection,
and mutual affection with love.
For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they
keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and
is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.
The exhortation of Saint Peter’s and the symbolic beckoning hand of Jesus both call for a total and complete commitment to live life as disciples. Jesus wants to cleanse our hearts of sin and old ways, renewing our spirits, but the choice is ours.
Pray to Jesus for a renewal of spirit.
There has been a long journey through Israelite history in this painting The Word Made Flesh that illustrated the relationships between God and people. From the fear of God found in the Exodus to section of the Israelites not knowing God as stated in Hosea “Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.” The journey continued with the promise of God to renew the people in Ezekiel, “and put breath in you so that you shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Always the main focus of the painting and writings has been the promise of a new life through Jesus Christ if we but ask and let go of old ways.
Ending prayer is from 2 Peter, "May grace and peace be yours in abundance in knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
******** ************* ************* **************
The book Spiritual Wellness for Christians Using Written and Painted Meditations contains thirteen original scripture based paintings, meditations and stories.
Some of the titles are "The Light inspired by John 8:12, the story" The Tapestry, the painting
"Grapes and Wheat" and the story " The Tree."
If you would like to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org