Lort works his dream in the sun, cultivating his land and his vision, and his marvellously sculpted poured-earth house, while nomadic Nat tends another garden.
Her decades of deep early-morning contemplation in spiritual treatises have born fruit. She has returned to her compelling Whangarei Heads connection, her home there once a bach on a bay, now a cottage on an ocean beach farm. Surf and a sparkling open ocean horizon lies East, over warm green cattle-studded pasture. South, Mt Te Whara looms, protective, warmly bush-clad and tracked for the high places. Mt Manaia rockily thrusts itself up to the West. Bay after pohutukawa lined bay winds me along to work, to paint for four days of the week in a public studio serendipitously created in a local rural-coastal cafe; Newday Cafe at Parua Bay, where a steady stream of people, commissions and good coffee keeps my options alive. I turned up one weekend in 2012 asking to pop my tall crank-easle under their high ceiling to paint an oversized pohutukawa commission. I have been there ever since and am on my seventh commissioned huge tree in bas relief.
I still wake for the early watch, Te Whara cut high against the dark sky, later to be etched against the dawn light, like the contemplative envisioning that dawns in my innermost-place as I study and search at the interface with Spirit. I have but recently discovered that I am of a long and venerated line little understood in our current material age.
All this morphed into an interface with Christ. Did I find Christ or did Christ find me? His, (yes, the interface is a relationship), His light blinds out the world, burns away want and ignites passion. Simplicity becomes implicit. Provision and direction is startlingly clear. God relates like a good Father, or Husband, responding utterly to love, and to my faltering trust in the face of doubt....... afterall, God is only percievable by his absense. Nat finds herself abandoned to the notion of Faith, a nourishment to be found no-where else.
For the other three days of the week, I live with a community in Whangarei, exploring with a beloved menagerie of souls, fresh expressions of monasticism. Seasons of believers, sojourners, detainees, marginalised teenagers, the dying - whoever - like the core group, find themselves pulled into this hearth, where we rediscover Christ amidst a culture that has forgotten him.
I have rediscovered the supernatural interface Christ has wrought for our escape from the material myth, from the ego, from ourselves and from death.
WOW, 'Without Walls' is not a therapeutic community, but a space where we can catch our spiritual breath. We do a daily prayer rhythm together and we linger there, for it is so rich. We eat together. We do family together, with all agegroups attending. I am the resident artist.. We run Retreats. We do dishes, mow lawns, clean toilets. I paint. Do coffee downtown with whoever.
What did it for me? I had been searching the high places for years, while caught in the 'free' 1970's paradigm. My in-breath was ignited by a transformative text (free from www.bfzn.org.nz). This little Testament, (Jesus's biography), has a commentary by a Chinese exegetist who has synthesized the best and the revelatory to well suit its subtitle: The Recovery Version.
I documented this interface. Art helped me to slip through the supernatural veil concealing this controversial figure. There is Jesus the man, the historical figure, of whom we think as grounded, like us. Well, some of us.... His biography is highly accessible but for the veil over our hearts which forbids us to read it. Then there is the Jesus context that we must take on Faith, the not so secret key to God's economy: Jesus the Son of God. The Christ part.
This part is impossible for the mind to comprehend. The eyes of the heart must be opened to see His truth, in spite of the all-out opposition from every aspect of our culture. My eyes have opened.