Lately you may have noticed there are all kinds of people taking all kinds of stands on all kinds of issues, and some of the competing voices get a bit shrill, and the air a bit thick, and honestly, it gets a bit hard to breathe.
Sometimes I want to unplug. To turn it all off and walk away. To silence the angry voices, the accusations, the sarcasm and mockery and name calling. I can't speak to it, because whatever I say, I end up with a label slapped on my forehead, my motives judged, my worth (or lack of it) assessed. I am, after all, a cardboard cut-out. And so are you.
These are my thoughts when my son walks in the room, looks at my face, and asks, "Are you sad?"
I don't even know how to answer, because, yes, this is a heaviness and a sorrow, but am I sad? Can I be, when just this morning I slipped so small into the presence of unapproachable light, and these Words, they met me there, blazing radiant?
Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
I don't have to be sad, and I don't have to be silent. I can be glad with the heavens and rejoice with the earth, roar with the sea and all that fills it. I can exult with the field and sing with the forest, because there is a righteous judge, and all things are known to Him. He alone knows hearts, and mine is to worship and the earth's to tremble.
I could join the chorus calling names and mocking, but I would rather declare His glory among the nations and His marvelous works among all the peoples.
And that brings me to this:
A slideshow of photos taken by John Keatley for Arts Aftercare in Manila, Philippines, where they were piloting their Healing Arts Toolkit with twenty-four staff from six great organizations that serve survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Do yourself a favor and watch.
All of the women photographed in front of the green background are survivors of human trafficking. They've suffered unspeakable things, but they are finding healing through counseling, community, and the arts. They -- and those who serve them -- are truly beautiful.
Lately you may have noticed there are all kinds of people taking all kinds of stands on all kinds of issues, some with grace and some not so much. But there are other voices, too -- Master's artists quietly using their art to bring healing to survivors of human trafficking. And the LORD, the righteous judge, is creating beautiful things out of the dust.
Like a refreshing rain, the air washes fair, and suddenly I can breathe again.
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Jeanne Damoff is honored to support Arts Aftercare and you can, too. Visit their blog to learn the various ways you can help. And if you live in the Seattle area, get your tickets now for their fund-raising event on August 27 at The Triple Door, where they'll celebrate the beauty and healing power of the arts for survivors of human trafficking. Enjoy an evening of music, photography, and the release of a brand new documentary film, and you'll help make the world a more just, free, and beautiful place. I don't know anyone who will mock you for that.