All images are copyright © 2008-2013 Russ Martin,
(unless otherwise indicated). All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saint John the Baptist at Night

St. John is one of the few churches that is well lit at night. Unfortunately the power lines that grace the front of the building during the day do not leave at night. I used PhotoShop to remove no less than 8 power lines for the daytime pictures. I did not PS these out. I'll worry about that if I ever print them.

I made several attempts at trying to include part of the cemetery that comes right up to the back of the church. I played around with using my headlights but came up empty in the end. Taking pictures at night can be just as frustrating as it is rewarding.

It looks like I used a star filter on these but the star effect is the result of a long exposure. These were taken with an ISO 200, F/16 and 4 second exposure.
Saint John The Baptist Catholic Church Maria Stein Ohio

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"What Brings Us Here?" The Answer

Have you ever found yourself sitting in a chapel our sanctuary after hours? Just you and God and whatever trouble brought you there. I have. I just wanted to shut out the world and be alone with my God. To cry, scream and pour out my heart, looking for something, anything to relieve my pain and guilt.

My father had suffered a severe heart-attack and we were waiting for his brain activity to get low enough so we could pull the plug. It was not a quick process but one that would drag on for days. There was no hope for recovery. Knowing this did not make the decision any less painful or easier to live with.

It's that type of moment that brings us to our knees before the Lord. So why come here. Why make the trip when you can talk to God any where and any time. For me it's the difference between calling your mom on the phone seeking comfort versus having her hold you in her arms. It's the intimacy we seek to sooth our troubled souls. To cry out Abba (Father) and to know that God is near is what brings us here.

Pictures taken at St. John the Baptist

Friday, August 8, 2008

Madonna & Child - Saint Henry

Madonna and Child Statue
 Saint Henry Catholic Church  
Saint Henry Ohio

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"What Brings Us Here?" The Question

The door closed silently behind me as I entered the church of The Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was early Saturday morning and the church was empty, or so I thought. I had come in through the doors of the old sanctuary and found the inside darker than I expected. Taking pictures was going to be difficult.

I have always enjoyed exploring as a kid, so I normally take a good walk around, before I take the first picture. Crossing from the old sanctuary into the new, I stopped to admire the cross shaped baptism. While debating on whether to take a picture or continue with my tour, movement near the altar drew my attention.

Had the man just been kneeling or standing with head bowed and hands clasped, I probably would not have even known he was there. But there was no mistaking why he was there. Here was a man in deep animated discussion with God. As the man paced and gestured with his arms making his silent plea to the Lord, I couldn’t help but think of an Old Testament story from 1 Samuel.

1 Samuel 1:12-16 (NIV)
As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer, I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Fascinated with this unexpected find, I observed and wonder what could have brought him here. What brings any man or woman to prostrate themselves before God? It was a question worthy of contemplation, but one that would have to wait. Not wishing to intrude any further, I decided it would be best to leave before he became aware of my presence.

I left as quietly as I had come, without taking any pictures, but I did not leave empty handed. Instead of pictures, I got one of my best “Where did you see Jesus” moments and the question “What brings us here?”

All pictures taken at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church

Look for the upcoming post “What Brings Us Here?” The Answer

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Protestant Stations of the Cross

While researching the Way of the Cross I came across the article The Stations of the Cross for Protestant Worship. According to the author the eight Stations of the Cross that have direct biblical references are often used by Protestants in place of the Catholic fourteen. The following are the suggested eight stations.

Station 1: Pilate Condemns Jesus to Die

 Mark 15: 1-5, 15
The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas and handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Station 2: Jesus Accepts His Cross

 John 19: 6, 15-17
When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.

Station 3: Simon Helps Carry the Cross

 Mark 15: 21
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 

Station 4: Jesus Speaks to the Women

Luke 23: 27-31
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!' and to the hills, ‘Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"

Station 5: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

John 19:23-24
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece woven from top to bottom. "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."

Station 6: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

 Luke 23: 33-34
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

Station 7: Jesus Cares for His Mother

John 19: 25-27  (No Picture Available)
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Station 8: Jesus Dies on the Cross

 Luke 23: 44-46
It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

The following is an excerpt from the article:

The journey of our Faith as modern Christians is not only a journey through history that can be marked by events in the past. It is also a journey of our own personal commitment to God, of our own growth as a community of Faith and as individuals maturing from self-centered children into faithful servants. It is a journey that we need to remember just as deeply and profoundly as we remember the journey of God's people across 3,000 of human history, or the journey of Jesus from Pilate’s Hall to Golgotha

Stations of the Cross 
Saint Anthony Catholic Church 
Padua Ohio