Lord, remember me...
On this Good Friday, it seems only right to present these two members of Jim's Joy of Life Parade. The night I found the hand written notes that Dad had penned years ago, tucked at the back of a bottom shelf in his studio, I literally shouted out with my own joy and thanked God for the blessing, that Dad had actually written down who everyone was. The original canvases are painted with one approaching the viewer, one directly in front of the viewer, and the third watching the portion of the parade that has already passed by. That central image features Fran, the love of his life and ever beautiful in his eyes. Walking beside her, a seemingly unremarkable bearded man wears an orange ball cap and carries a sign that proclaims "THE BEGINNING IS NEAR". He has one of those school spirit orange foam hands that everyone recognizes as meaning #1. When I unrolled the handwritten key which listed everyone on that central canvas, I saw that Fran was listed as #2. My joy was made complete that night, when I realized who Jim had chosen to occupy the #1 position in the largest canvas of his Joy of Life Parade. Number one, on that yellow legal pad listing, is God.
Aha, The Beginning is Near! It makes perfect sense. And the orange foam hand is pointing toward Heaven... but that is not all. Look at the palm of that uplifted left hand, and look at the back side of the right hand holding the sign... both are marked by the nail wounds received on behalf of each and every one of us, on this Good Friday, nearly two thousand years ago. I was unable to speak and my eyes were brimming full of my joy. I could not imaging how so much could have been here in my plain sight for years. I had looked at this painting many times and finally, that night, I was finally seeing what my Dad had painted. At this point I was looking at the original canvas. It was not until I was studying the images, after enlarging them on my computer screen, that I realized I had still been blind but now could see... there is a gold crown atop that orange ball cap!!! And just now, as I write down these words, I realize that the eyes of God are looking directly at me... as they are also looking directly at you. Thank you Lord!
And so, as I contemplate all of this, it seems well timed, on this Good Friday, as we near the "ninth hour", and ponder Christ on the cross, I give you the following to consider, written earlier, on the day that I first saw the gold crown.
May this Easter time be filled with blessing for you and the ones you love.