Christ of the Abyss

Finding Jesus in the Depths

Close to 1,000 feet off Italy’s Ligurian coast, between Camogli and Portofino, an eight-foot-tall, 900-pound bronze statue of Jesus Christ stands on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. It has been there since August 22, 1954.

The statue was created by Italian artist Guido Galletti. It is known as Il Christo Degli Abissi (Christ of the Abyss). With its raised head and outstretched arms, it’s as if the statue pronounces a benediction on all who descend the watery depths.

“The only way to see it is to swim down, down, down; and the further you go down, the closer you’ll be to seeing Jesus looking up and reaching upward to us,” explains Isaac Wardell, director of The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. “When we go down to the depths, he is already there.”

The metaphor is powerful.

Wardell and fellow musicians Matt Maher, Kate Bluett, and Doe Jones wrote a song inspired by Galletti’s underwater sculpture. It’s called “Christ is Lower Still.”

YouTube video for the song Christ is Lower Still by The Porter's Gate

Give it a listen. I think you’ll enjoy it.


A Prayer Based on Psalm 126

photo of a vineyard

I read through the Psalms regularly. Sometimes I write prayers based on the day’s reading. Here’s one I wrote (in collect form) in response to Psalm 126.

God of all comfort, we have sowed the fields with our sorrows and watered them with our tears. Cause the seeds we buried in the darkness of the earth to grow into something beautiful…

Read it all!


Talks

flatlay photo of open Bible

Recent talks and sermons from my weekly teaching and preaching ministry.

Listen to more talks here.


Art I’m Enjoying

Painting of two fishermen by Thomas Doughty
Thomas Doughty, Two Fishermen, 1828

From Wikipedia:

Born in Philadelphia, Thomas Doughty was the first American artist to work exclusively as a landscapist and was successful both for his skill and the fact that Americans were turning their interest to landscape. He was known for his quiet, often atmospheric landscapes of the rivers and mountains of Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and especially the Hudson River Valley. He taught himself how to paint while apprenticing for a leather manufacturer. In 1827 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary Academician.


Poetry I’m Enjoying

photo of secluded forest

How I Go To The Woods
By Mary Oliver

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unbearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

— Mary Oliver in Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (New York: Penguin Books, 2017)


Quote of the Moment

close up photo of a hummingbird

Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones—inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones—rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

— Mary Oliver in Upstream: Selected Essays (New York, Penguin Books, 2019)

Find more quotes from my reading here.