Crickets. I hear crickets. I see stars. I feel the cool evening wind relieved to be free of the sun’s fierce gaze caressing my skin.

The mountains cannot hide. Even in the pale silver “shaving that fell on the floor of a carpenter’s shop” moonlight the mountains frame the horizon. Tiny lights rumor of ancient French villages tucked into mountain enclaves like promises of a home I will one day know, of a rest amongst restless wandering, of a portent of divine love made manifest in the moment by moment persistence of another similarly homesick soul.

Marvel at the blessed blessings of our God. Take a step outside, make yourself available to the whims of the Spirit, and just look where you end up. The world is round, and there is no end to it. Christ’s love is similarly spherical, springing out elliptical like some magnificent solar storm around dinners of bread and wine made holy by the Savior’s sacrifice. “I will not eat this bread or drink this wine again until I taste it in the Kingdom.” Christ in me tasted the Kingdom tonight.

Bless the Orlucs, Father. They are good to me. I have done pittances of work for them – basic PowerPoints and pedestrian website editing, small logs lifted and drywall stacked – but they have poured out hope and peace upon me beyond measure.

Every friendship is an extension of another. Working backwards: Orlucs, Ramoses, Petersons, Givens, Walkers-Masts, Futrells, Isbells, Foxes, Davidsons, Christ. Everything is always Christ. Every good, every peace, everything holy and right, everything everything Christ. “In Him and by Him and through Him…”

Praise Christ. Resurrection reigns in the everyday stuff of life, and I miss it. I see connection and chance and circumstance, and really, it is Christ. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ to the left of me and to the right of me. Christ within me and without me.

“Christ without me – There is truth in that, truth I have only recently learned, truth I have raged against, puzzled over, cried because of, but truth which now brings me, grants me peace.

"Christ without me” – not because of me or anything I do. Christ irregardless of my ignorance and willful disobedience. Christ without me and always beckoning me forward to Him, with Him, for Him. In the stillness often called “silence” of God there is a peace not found in God’s talkative presence. There is a forsaking of pretense, a forgetting of the need to establish identities. “Christ without me” but always for me, faith’s ripening, hope’s leavening, love’s deepening.

With that, nothing remains of this day but to allow the Spirit to dream dip me into my unspoken prayers and awake baptized in a new day.

Gene Kelly Was Here

These blog posts were all written in the summer of 2011. They chronicle my time in Paris completing an internship as part of my studies at Fuller Seminary. I worked at an art gallery run by missionary-artists ministering to other Parisian artists and got to know the missionary-artists working there.

I am including them here for you to read because I think they work well together as a series. I wrote them as a kind of narrative collage about what it means to be a practicing artist whose first commitment is to Christ and who seeks to share the love of Christ with other artists.