Monday, August 23, 2010

Over-due Update / New Project- Body of Death

It has been MONTHS since I have posted anything of significant substance, for that I am sorry, I really have missed blogging.  Since our youngest was born at the end of March, life has been...difficult.  We welcomed our youngest Andrew Ezekiel into the world on March 30.  For those of you who know us, you know the issues we have had with both the boys, especially Drew (stomach issues and colic).  I have hardly been able to go out and witness due to busier work schedule (10 to12 hr days + working outside + heat = exhaustion).  I would like to come up excuses on why I have not been out there, but it boils down to nothing more then sinful selfishness.

In the past I have made some pictures that were on the subject of sin and they were dark in nature ("Crucify!" and "Mirror of the Ten Commandments").  My latest project follows along the same lines.  I know that there are some out there who have asked why my pictures are so dark, even borderline creepy.  I make these pictures based off what has been reveled to me from God and His Word.  Every time God shines His light to revel an area of sin in my life what I see is dark, dirty, and revolting.  When I get a glimpse of myself in comparison to my Maker I shutter.

Before Drew was born I was going through a time in my spiritual life of coasting and relative ease.  It is easy to allow yourself to forget just how sinful your flesh is and how monstrous it can be without God's restraining hand.  But when Drew was born all of that changed.  God used a little baby and an almost-two-year-old to show me this.  And though I am struggling every day, with varying degrees of success, I see God's gracious hand helping me through it.  Many times I have read and pondered the passage in Romans 7 where Paul, an apostle of Christ, relays his own struggle with sin.

Romans 7:15-25
    For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
    So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

As I pondered this passage I was drawn to the phrase "body of death."  I sometime ago heard a message by Pastor Jack Hughes in which he explained what the "body of death" was.  I had always assumed that it was just a metaphor for our flesh as something that is dying and sinful.  Pastor Hughes explained that it was actually in fact a reference to first century death sentence. Below is a description of said punishment:
"Roman society knew a gruesome form of capital punishment (practiced primarily by Etruscan pirates in Northern Italy) in which the body of the murdered person would be chained to the murderer (hand to hand, face to face, etc.) In the hot Mediterranean sun, the body would quickly decay, spreading not only rancid odor but also deadly infection to the murderer. The doomed criminal would carry this awful burden until the decay and infection from the corpse finally ended his own miserable existence. It was only possible to be freed from the horrors of this punishment if someone else chose to carry the body in the place of the murderer, carrying it to his death."

 What a vivid description Paul uses to relate our sin to us.  Although we are a new creation, while we are here on the earth we will always have our sinful flesh bound to us, infecting us, killing us, and, if the Lord should tarry, will be what brings us to the grave.  But thanks be to God for the hope of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ!  When we die or the Lord comes back we will not have to be bound to our bodies of death for eternity!

I have smelled the rotting corpse of my flesh and have allowed it to infect me to behave in a manner contrary to what I have been called to.  This is the background to my latest project "Body of Death." I will warn you it is rather dark.  Jenn has a hard time looking at it and while I was making it she started to cry, but I think it is a powerful visual reminder what what our sin is and who we are before salvation.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31)
--The Wretch


Jenn Marshall said...

I'm so glad you're writing again, my love! Keep it up! :)

Post a Comment

Cuss words (mild or abbrev.), blasphemy, or failure to give
the name "God" or "Jesus" capitals, will be deleted. I want to hear your comments, so please keep them clean.