Bezalel's Compass

November 8, 2018

Liturgical TIme, Ashes and the Failure of Lent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Eric G. Ivers @ 10:56 pm

PieterBruegelWhat is time? An ever rolling stream a lyricist said. How is it marked, made important, memorialized? In reality, the everyday one, it would seem to be punctuated by the NFL/AFC Championships, March Madness, political campaigns, market cycles, the local school year and tax deadlines. This is the real world and its measure in degrees, minutes and seconds. In that balance we are always found wanting beneath the modern tyranny of the clock. Punch in at 8 o’clock out at 12, in at 1 and out again at 5. Unless there is a deadline. Plausibly tolerable compared to the schedule of the ‘soccer-mom syndrome’. LORD have mercy.
I took a break once, maybe twice. A sabbatical rest so to speak. Definitely not part of a ladder climber’s itinerary, “No rest for the weary!” But I did, so be it. From my perch it was the best decision I ever made. It’s one of those life events. I have never been closer to God than when I walked in the woods care-less-ly at the beginning of an elk season in Idaho 2008. I communed with the creator and His creation. It was a habitual season. My brother’s birthday inaugurated the beginning of elk season and we made a point to load up the wagon and travel vertically into the mountains. To abide menially for a time, touch the handiwork of God, and maybe, possibly, accept the lottery offering that God would give. This animal offering evidently was my brother’s benefit. But I received the better portion I’m sure. I got to appreciate deeply the art of God’s very worldly craftsmanship. I spend many hours on hills over-looking the valley below asking, “What is man that you are mindful of him, who am I that you are sacrificial toward me?”
My brother makes the best sausage. Always in early winter and they become gifts he gives at Christmas. But those gifts are more than the tangible enjoyment of earthly produce. The stories of birthdays and camping, amateur butchers next door and the advice they shared, friends who came to offer brandy to share your joy of hauling that beast up a frozen ravine. The gift was communicating the communion of community. Those are joyful times, like Christmas and Easter. Other time are no less endearing but much more sober. Like when my brother enlisted in the army after 2002. And how I prayed. Like when my father passed into eternity and left me here timeless, watching the wind blow printed leaves into fall.
Joy is easy and it should be, as should be Easter. Culturally, these days are accepted readily as occasions for festive celebration. But advent and more so, Lent are less appealing to our immediate sense of gratification and hence unwantingly embraced into our cultural assessment of what is good, right and beautiful.
So here we are with our lifestyles and our timelines… Where does Christ fit between the manger and His resurrection? What is the point of the church calendar? Are they empty traditions of a sacerdotal era or are they pedagogical in a time when we have lost all sense of time? And how should we respond to the yearly cycle of liturgical litmus tests, twittered tauntings and Facebook flippancies where one ought to be commended for giving up chocolate. Truly? Twenty-one Christians die a horrid beheading last week in Libya and we walk the streets with ashen crosses on our foreheads in rent clothes bemoaning our life without Starbucks? It just seems so unreal, pretentious, hollow.
But what then, is the observance structurally flawed? Absolutely not! Yet here the sign has been made to be the signified. It has become the law devoid of the spirit and hence a stumbling block for many. I love the church calendar! But Christ alone and all else be laid to waste! The calendar was made for man, not man for the calendar. I love Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, but if it masks our sins in the veil of piety, then damn it to hell!
How then, should we be observant as Christians? By the way of the cross and the path of self-sacrifice. By way of humble yet steadfast and resolved reliance upon Christ. As I said, I love the church calendar, I love Ash Wednesday, I love the season of Lent. But I love those days specifically because I vow what I cannot do. I AM ST. PETER’S LENTEN FAILURE. Those favorite things which I abhor, desire to give up and be rid of…those most hideous vile secrets of which I am ashamed to confess except to my LORD in a closet. What I would commit, [bracket] and set apart, make holy in the most dreadful sense is a lost cause from the moment of its betrayed kiss. That pledge I utter is structurally flawed. Every year I fail to accomplish what my heart longs to defeat. Every Lent is as a January resolution broken. This is the winter of my own New Year’s hell before the dawn of a glorious Resurrection Day. LORD have mercy, this is the point of Lent.


October 8, 2018

St. Francis-Xavier Catholic Church

Filed under: Architecture, church architect, ecclesiastic, liturgy, Praise — Eric G. Ivers @ 1:13 pm

“A woman walked in for the funeral today and said “I didn’t know they built churches like this anymore. It’s so beautiful I could cry.”” – Rev. O’Brien Pastor of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Made my day. – Eric Ivers

April 6, 2016

Grace-St, Luke’s Episcopal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Eric G. Ivers @ 12:39 pm

Grace-St. Luke'sThis is my latest completed design work for a Memphis makeover of Grace-St. Luke Episcopal Church in 2015-2016 that turned out stunning. Though lighting was just one aspect of the design, its power to transform space can’t be downplayed. If that was all that was accomplished, this project would still have been a success.

April 20, 2014

Dying to One’s Self and the Glory of Resurrection Day

peter-paul-rubens-holy-trinityDon’t answer a man by studying about him – the horrid concept that spurns difference, rather study to show yourself approved toward God. Build the relation. Get to know your man. Let him tell you what he thinks, knows and believes. Let him trust you that you will listen to his thoughts, ideas and words. Let his confidence be ensured that you will not condemn his concept, rape his reason, disparage his decision, a priori. Know him intimately, as a friend. What point is there to win the argument only to lose the man? To build a wall only to keep civility and its discourse outside? Embrace the awkwardness of not knowing. Cherish the confliction of concepts. Desire the disparity of mental genealogies. In the endgame, reason doesn’t win the battle, that’s belongs to the middle ground. The beginning and end is a gift of love.

December 16, 2013


Filed under: In Other's Words, On Existence and Time, Quotes: probably out of context — Tags: — Eric G. Ivers @ 11:46 pm

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so” – Douglas Adams

July 20, 2013

Liturgy, Architecture and Theology

“Liturgy is a splendid NT word that carries a wealth of meaning, all of which is bound up with the idea of service to God. It is applied to the priests, the offerings, the vessels of the temple used in the service of God (Luke 1:23, Heb. 9:21),  the “sacrificial service” (Phil 2:17), and the service of officers of the Church. That this evensongword liturgy should come to be used of worship indicates the importance with which worship was rightly held as service! But the service of worship must be governed not by tradition, let alone by aesthetics, but by theology. Thus Conrad H. Massa has well said that for the Reformers “the liturgy of the Church was the working out of its theology in the activity of corporate worship.” Thus, there is a propriety in speaking, as does Hammond, of “liturgy and architecture,” and meaning very much the same as “theology and architecture.” Architecture, however, must be liturgy (i.e., service to God) in working out the theology of a church [building] in its physical structure. Just as liturgy is theology in action, so architecture is theology in material structure. Thus liturgy seems a word more appropriate to describe the role of architecture, rather than its underlying basis. Both architecture and liturgy must be determined by theology”. -Bruggink and Droppers, Christ and Architecture

July 19, 2013

Christ and Architecture

Geneva“The situation of the Presbyterian/ Reformed churches in America is very much akin to that of the Church of England, so well described by Peter Hammond (in Liturgy and Architecture, 1960). Like the Anglicans, we have simply not given enough thought to our to our theology in relation to church architecture. Unlike the Church of England, however, we are not imitating the “traditional” churches of an earlier age; rather, we are being tossed about on a shifting sea of eclectic borrowings. This situation will continue until we are willing to give some very serious thought to our understanding of the relationship between gospel and architecture. If the gospel and its proclamations are important, and if architecture can proclaim the gospel in a significant way, then we must consider with absolute seriousness its architectural proclamation” -Bruggink.

If art is a language endowed with meaning, how has church architecture proclaimed the gospel to you?

In response to the quote above, I present to you G.K. Beale’s “The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God“.








The church building where Calvin preached in Geneva

April 3, 2013

Remembering My Own Self

Early Days

Every year, this day, April 2nd,  I remember:

“The title of the free, of the “coming generation,” could not be bestowed on those whose future was not hewn out by the older generation’s voluntary restraint and opening up of their “coming.” Future and freedom, liberty and “coming” are two aspects of the same thing. Without foresight – no freedom. My father’s foresight is my freedom. My own “future” is made possible by the love of the preceding generation.” – Origin of Speech, E.R.H.

My son, hear the instruction of you father and forsake not the law of you mother…  if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou inline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searcheth for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

March 30, 2013

The Prophecy of Isaiah

Filed under: Art, Drawing on Life, Praise — Tags: , , , — Eric G. Ivers @ 1:33 am

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16

We live in a world of common place alienation, loneliness and exile, but Isaiah reminds us that the LORD has not forgotten His people, that he is not far off and that he will draw nigh to His people. He will cause His face to shine upon us and our faces will be lifted up in joy.

Peter Paul Rubens-The Crucified Christ

March 29, 2013

What Wondrous Love is This

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

What wondrous love is this that God would be made flesh and dwell amongst a broken creation, to be despised and rejected by His own, the king of heaven and earth mocked by His servants, tortured and nailed to a cross? This is the love of God, that He should give grace toward those of such lowly and de-meritted intentions. Christ was incarnated to save those just like us. To re-orientate us within a new creation. To save the world by an unyielding sacrificial love.
Tiepolo - Christ Carrying the Cross

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