Where Are You?

GPC’s Advent art exhibit, Where Are You? begins December 3 and continues through January 14.

The first week’s theme is Hope. The first promise of hope comes in Genesis 3:15 where in the midst of God’s pronouncement of judgement and curse, God says that the seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head.

Asher McClain’s pyrography of the tree of life together with the new blooms points to this hope.
Adah Freeman has captured the moment in which Eve beside her husband (whose head is bowed in shame), raisers her eyes upwards having heard the promise of redemption.
Michael Kuehn’s song, Adam, tells the story of Adam from creation, to loss, to hope. You may listen to the song via the player below, and the lyrics are provided.
Pressed lips onto the dirt
Breathing life into the earth
All at once my limbs awake
Blood flows through this jar of clay

I was made for this
Perfect love from a quickening kiss
To join the dance and sing along
To love, thrive, belong

Pursed lips to ear I heard
Those luscious tempting words
My heart the willing prey
“Did God truly say?”

The sweetness never came
Sickened by the bitter shame
Laid bare by sin and scared to die
All for the love of a lie

Then the promise rang in my ears
One day you’d wipe away these tears
A bruised heel to crush the head
To bear my shame and raise the dead

My fragile form exposed
You made me costly clothes
Piercing skin of blameless hide
You graciously placed me inside

The second week’s theme is Love. In those moments when our loves are revealed and the cost of love is manifest, we have the opportunity to cry out, “Here I am!”

Asher captures the view of Genesis 22 from the mountain top. (It was not lost on us that it snowed this very weekend in Kernersville. Did Asher know this was going to happen?)
Adah’s portrait of Abraham captures the moment when Abraham with knife in hand, hears the call of the Angel, “Abraham! Abraham!”
Michael’s song, Abraham, tells the story of Abraham’s journey with Isaac to the mountain upon which Abraham was to sacrifice his son.

You may listen to the song via the player below.
Here are the lyrics.

Dad, where are we going?
What are we gonna do?
I’ve never seen your face this torn before
Dad, how much farther now?
Why aren’t you saying more?
I’m getting worried something’s really wrong
You can tell me I am old enough
You can tell me I won’t say a word
I know I can’t make it easier
To do what you’ve gotta do
But I am so much bigger now
Can’t I at least carry the wood?
I may not fully understand, but
Together we’ll see it through
Cause daddy I love you

Have I ever told you, son?
The miracle you are?
How when we heard we laughed and laughed and laughed
But every word was true
Every promise kept
And I believe He will be faithful still
I won’t lie to you I’m terrified
Of all that God has asked of me
But He has never failed me once
To do what He said He’d do
The hands that knit you inside the womb
Have power the could raise you too
His ways are higher than my ways
I trust He will see this through
Just know that I love you

Stay your hand!
The Lord provides
Himself the Lamb
His head stuck among the thorns
By myself I’ve sworn
To show how I love you

The third week’s theme is Joy. The joy of being found is realized when we come to see that the Lord has been seeking us. He draws us from the rivers of our lives and our wandering in the wilderness into his presence. His promise is that, if we trust him, we will worship him.

Asher’s pyrography is of the burning bush in Exodus 3.
Adah’s portrait of Moses is of the moment Moses turns aside to see this curious fire. From the bush he hears the Lord’s voice speak to him.
Michael’s song, Moses, tells Moses’ story and imagines what it meant for Moses to be drawn to the Lord and sent on the Lord’s mission.

You may listen via the player below.
Here are the lyrics.
In the dusk there’s a speck of dawn
Something in the light is turning me aside
To see what’s going on

Suddenly this is holy ground
A miracle of flame is calling me by name
Where I thought I’d not be found

Grant me the grace
To stand in this sacred space

You know my name and you told me yours
Now I know who I am and I know what I’m for
Drawn to life, like when I was a boy
From the wilderness and into joy

But I’m not who you think I am
Maybe if your fire burned a little brighter
You would understand

You’d see the blood that stains these hands
See the darkest part of my orphan heart
See me for who I really am

But I feel your love as heat
Warming the ground beneath my feet

You know my name and you told me yours
Now I know who I am and I know what I’m for
Drawn to life, like when I was a boy
From the wilderness and into joy

From my beginning until my end
You’ll always be who you’ve always been
Known to my core since before I began
Alight in the blaze of you, here, I am

You know my name and you told me yours
Now I know who I am and I know what I’m for
Drawn to life, like when I was a boy
From the wilderness and into joy

The fourth week of Advent’s theme was “peace”. Peace is the fruit of faith of which Mary is an example. After being told of all she will play a part in, she replies, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be to me as though hast spoken.”

Asher’s pyrography captures the question. What gateway leads to peace? What security provides peace? What vista’s inspire it?
Adah’s portrait is that of Mary at the moment she humbly submits herself to God’s will and plan.
Michael’s song, Mary tells the story from her vantage point. You may note lyrics from the Magnificat. (A nice touch if you don’t ask me).
Here are the lyrics to Michael’s song.

What sort of greeting is this?
So marvelous, so mysterious
What sort of thing have I heard?
A promise so certain, a never-failing word

How can you speak of things that are not
As though they are?
Yet Lord I believe, and long to serve Thee
With all of my heart

Let it be unto me

My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices
For He is my Savior, His gaze is upon me
He has shown the strength of His arm
Holy is His name, Holy is His name

What sort of feelings are these?
Palms pushing and pressing, and bumping little knees
What sort of mother will I be?
Merely a girl, raising the Prince of Peace

Will He know my voice? Mind my words?
Need my care?
Lord here I am, Your will be done
With all that I bear

Let it be unto me

Not the righteous but the sinner
Not the wealthy but the poor
Not the proud ones but the humble
Not the healthy but the sick
Come you shepherds, come you wise men
Come and see what God has done
Come you weary, come you children
Come now, behold the Son
Holy is His name

Our final theme for the Candlelight Service was “Glory”. The glory of God rushes into creation with the birth of the Christ, Jesus, and the humble shepherds are the first to receive this news.

Asher applies a new technique and orientation to set off our final theme. Asher makes use of negative space (by darkening in the sky and showing the lighted stable where the glory of God has made his appearance. In addition the vertical nature of the pyrography not only complements Adah’s horizontal orientation (a change for her as well), but it draws our attention to the ascent and descent of the Son of God on Christmas.
Adah’s portrait is of those shepherds at the moment they see and hear the angelic choir sing, “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth, Peace, among those with whom he is pleased!”
Here is Michael’s song, Shepherds, (Behold the Lamb) which captures a shepherd’s realization of who Jesus is and what he has come to do. You may listen via the player, and the lyrics are printed below.
I have wandered here so long, these desolate scenes
Watching my flock by day, with more in my dreams
I was called out long ago, and my father before me
He said, “Son, your job is to watch over these sheep.”
Little did I know, those many years ago, that one day I would see
A lamb born to watch over me

I’ve wrestled wolves and weathered winds, I’ve faced many fears
But nothing quite like that night when the angel appeared
I fell on my face to a voice like trumpet blasts
Saying, “This night is born a Savior who will free us all at last!
For like your sheep you’ve gone astray, but the Good Shepherd born today,
He’s a keeper of men, and He won’t rest
Till they’re all safely gathered in.”

I went straight away to the sight
Led by one star’s brilliant light
There at the scene, it was all that I could say,
“Behold the Lamb, who takes our sins away.”

I still wander through these fields but nothing is the same
I was called out long ago, called out by name
Not a day goes by when I don’t think of what my father told me
He said, “Son, your job is to watch over these sheep.”
Little did I know, those many years ago
That one day I would see
A lamb born to watch over me

You may purchase a digital album of Michael Kuehn’s songs through Bandcamp HERE.