March 18, 2008

new tattoo to be unveiled soon

by arthurstewart
Categories: Arthur, God, tattoos
Tags: , , ,
Comments: 7 Comments

An explanation of my new tattoo, soon to be unveiled when I can get a pic taken and posted in the next day or two now that it is done and nearly finished peeling…

Last year was quite significant for me in my understanding of God’s pursuit of our hearts. I suppose our time with our friends Sean & Jean Daly was a big piece of that. With them, we spent a considerable amount of time considering the great love God has for us and his pursuit of us, his beloved. I was challenged to consider what in my story keeps me from embracing that. Further, what wounds need to be healed in order to pursue God myself? Powerful and lasting stuff – I am still considering and working through some of these issues and truths. I am also reminded of a line from Rob Bell’s “Sunday” Nooma dvd – “God wants our hearts… hearts that are becoming like His” And Isaiah 58, which we spent a considerable amount of time with last year, makes it clear that God doesn’t desire empty rituals. Instead, he wants hearts that are turned toward Him.

God is love. Love God. Love your neighbor. The greatest of these is love. This is sort of a central theme of scripture. This is not a new theme, not new information to me. BUT, I am coming to actually experience/understand that God is after our hearts to the exclusion of all else. He isn’t impressed by what we can do. He doesn’t need us to save the world. He wants our hearts to become as they were meant to be – full of love – just like His. Then, frankly, the rest happens flowing from that. God is the King of Hearts.

Over the past several years, I’ve begun the slow journey of getting in touch with my own heart – my desires, my longings, my capacities to care for others. 2002 (our apprentice year with NieuCommunities) was a breakthrough year in this regard. Since then, it’s been big at times, slow at others. But being part of NC has afforded me generous opportunities to explore this most critical pursuit. I am also surrounded by amazing people who are much further along than I. Fortunately, they are all reasonably encouraging and patient with me as I learn.

Another big turning point came last year. While reading Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy for the 5th time or so, I was caught by a small phrase he was discussing from the Sermon on the Mount. “Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth ,where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21). This caught my attention because I am constantly considering how I spend my time, priorities, etc.

So, I asked myself, where can I invest that moth and rust don’t destroy? What is eternal, and not subject to decay? Where should I be putting my time, my effort, my heart? In people. People’s hearts are eternal. They do not die. That’s where I need to invest my treasure. With that, I believe I am desiring to join with God and his desire for hearts. I align myself with the King of Hearts.

For those of you who play cards reasonably often, you will know that the King of Hearts is also the “suicide king.” This king holds a sword that looks like it is sticking in the side of his head. There’s a whole long history of why the card appears this way, but I think it suits (ha ha) my meaning as well. The King of Heart must die to himself. Fill in your own scripture references here (there are tons), but let me just summarize to say that love comes at the highest of costs – sacrifice. But it also allows the greatest of rewards – manifesting and participating in God’s very essence – love. You will see when the pic is posted of how we captured the idea of the king who dies in order to love – the dead and living king therefore being one and the same.

My hopes for this particular post are threefold:

  1. to offer explanation to those of you who got to see the tattoo during the NieuCommunities conference that I never had the opportunity to explain this to
  2. as a teaser for those of you who are waiting to see it – you know i have something – and reading this can only increase your interest
  3. to share with all of you the meaning behind this piece of art. it has deep significance to me, much more than I have written here, but this is enough for now. You can always ask questions for more info/clarification ;)

Pics to follow soon, I promise


7 Comments »

  1. Allen Taylor says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. tim says:

    Love it. Can’t wait to see the pic.

  3. tim says:

    Thanks for sharing…can’t wait to see the pic. Will be praying for journey with the King of Hearts. I will think about this everytime I play poker.

  4. Rob Yackley says:

    As you well know Arthur, the path to deep transformation often takes more time than we plan on and more twists and turns than we expect. But it is worth it. May God sustain and carry you as you pursue a whole heart.

  5. Anthony says:

    Thanks for sharing this bit of exposition on the significance of your new tattoo, particularly as it corroborates and provides encouragement to what God has been speaking to me as well. Again and again, in the midst of my various struggles, in the midst of the theological fog that I sometimes find myself in, God has impressed upon me that what he wants is my heart. In someways this is immensely freeing to know, in other ways it is frightening, but together it is exhilarating as it makes the battle for spiritual growth more raw, intense, and vulnerable, and yet it brings a greater, more genuine vision of hope and glory.

    Finally, regarding empty ritual, I have to say (at risk of being suspect due to my Anglican expression of faith) that the other side of the coin is that ritual can be a very liberating way of getting out of our subjective self and into the objective reality of God’s unyielding, indomitable, love, and the glory that he has called us to in Jesus Christ.

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