Body of Water (The Red Door)

Body of Water (The Red Door)


Never, have I ever, painted live at a church // In these halls where language like an eagle soars // Hunting an explanation but seldom willing to explore // Beyond the war that leaves words stripped to their core // And the tension left behind that gives us sometimes something more // Than the eagle’s lifeless prey giving one last lurch // No, I have never painted at a church // At least not inside one // Or with permission // Thanks for having me // It’s good to be here // This year // 2024 years ago tonight // I wasn’t there, neither were you, things to do // Mostly laundry // Dingy gray rags, smeared with chocolate and mud, add some crimson detergent blood, they come out white like the tops of the clouds after the flood // Dressed to the nines, you made it to church on time // Good job, modern man… kind // You’re looking good in this temple // Have you ever seen a house of God quite like this? // A temple court // A basketball court // Yet bearing one another’s likeness // Yes, basketball // Basketball is people // Just like church // Paint them both with the red flags of the nations // And watch their colors drip and bleed // Down bright green leaves beneath a hot Tibetan sun // Their colors run // With ice blue prayers down a white mountain stream // How can this be? // It’s color theory and I know it doesn’t sound right // But yes // Red // Can indeed // If everything’s right // Red can indeed make white

The Red Door I: Face Thyself

I won’t bore you with all the color theory // But there is something you must know // Before we go // Any further // Into the light tonight // Where it’s the presence of all colors // And not their absence // That makes the purest white // Every potential, every wavelength // Present // In the brightness of the whitest light // But tonight? // I am here to paint // With words of reflection // And when it comes to reflections // To the color of objects // To our own complexions // To the shimmering of flesh and blood // To the material world that merely reflects the light it does not comprehend // Here, white is something different // Here, where all potentials collapse into one outcome // Here, white is void // White is absence // White is the emptiness between all colors // And here on this reflected side of light // There are three // A trinity // Blue // Yellow // And Red // Every color we can see comes from white and just these three // White the dove, white the light, white the wool of the lamb // Blue the sea, blue the sky, blue the water behind the dam // Yellow the flower, yellow the submarine, yellow the sun on the corner of the child’s page // Red // Red the door, red the rum, red the rust on the bars of the child’s cage // Red, the color of salvation // Red // Red the door // Painted with the blood of the passover lamb // Oh Death // Pass over us // Oh God // Deliver us // Let all the colors of this temple // That is our very life // The greens and browns, oranges, and violets that surround us // Made for your presence // For your dwelling place // For your rest // You with us // And us with You // Let all these colors // Linger on // Like pale blue eyes // Gazing on a red door // Painted red with blood // Paid for with blood // And yet somehow // An invitation to life // And through this red door // Full of color // This persistent vision // The glory of the coming kingdom // Your kingdom Oh God // Dances // In the reflected light // In the mirror of your broken body // Before the reservoirs of our eyes

We each bring our own darkness with us tonight // For some it’s greed, ambition // Others sloth, drunkenness // Pride, envy // Lust // For some like me, maybe it’s all three? // We struggle with these even as we walk with Thee // And learn that the battle itself is also a form of defeat // We learn to turn our heads // To avert our needy eyes // To manage ourselves by external means // Keep the outside of the cup sparkling, clean // While refusing to even look inside… // But to look upon Your suffering // Is to look inside // And to look inside // Is to look upon Your suffering // Oh God, what have I done? // This life I’ve been given // This temple You’ve made for Your dwelling place // Instead I have crafted unknowingly in my own image // In your agony I see you subject yourself // To my own broken world // I fed the swine to your string of pearls // So now I drink this wine like fire // And I see myself in every evil // Of the world entire // No horror committed // Without roots in my own black heart // And yet, there You are // Your life within me // Though I scarcely even know Your worth // My own true life // Long since separated // At birth // Damn that serpent // That part of me that bowed to my own desires // For a quick and easy method // Human ingenuity // To engineer the kingdom here // And chose to forsake // You for whom I was made // To relate // And yet, there You are // The ocean of Your eyes crashing into mine // Saying Father forgive him // He knows not what he’s done // But as I look at You now // I am without excuse // I know what I’ve done // I see it in Your body // I see it in Your blood // I see it in the dice tossed aside beneath Your swollen feet // I see it in the mocking robe // I see it in each of us unmoved by the cruelty of Rome // I see it in our city streets // In the particle-board siding of a watered-down suburban home // I see it when the girls walk by dressed in summer clothes // I see it when they’re ripped away from their homes // And their souls stolen for digital coins // That burn black holes in the offering plates // Is it hot in here? // The planet warms, the machine churns // Is there peace in my own heart? // With war the promised land burns // I hide my shame from the young and the old // Your church herself covers up abuses untold // I find friends with common interests // I let genocide take care of the rest // As my world fills up with men and women // Made in Your image // Casting lots for prime spots // In the darkest corners of parking lots // With no place to call their home // With no temple to find Your holy rest // Holy hell // What have I done? // As I struggle to face these facts // To call off my own attack // It’s not just one thing I lack // It’s the entire stack // My whole world goes black

Red Door II: Loss

History is a twisted limb of leaves // A wagon trail of ghosts // Haunted by thieves // Hide the thirty coins // And head to the crossroads // History’s turning points // Where choices made mark time // Like notes of somber sheet music // Written in rhyme // Played on out of tune pianos // In down and out dime stores of the old west // Every choice a different note // A different circumstance // But played on the same instruments // Whose strings vibrate between // Relationship // And method // Our sad songs drone on with unholy method // While relationship // The song of true relationship // The frequency of one mystery facing another // This song is seldom heard // Both songs full of dust and alcohol and human sweat // But only one was written to be sung // Between A holy God and his holy son // And when the last note plays // The work is done

Methodology runs long in our biology // And world history is an endless green boa slowly coiling around // Adam’s ribs // While American history runs quick // A short desert snake shake’s a baby’s rattle // Before the battle // Long since divorced // From the war // And all the tiresome lore // That surrounds the red door

But wait…

Do we really need to recall the historical significance // Of a door painted red in America tonight? // No // Of course we don’t // We’re here to remember the fulfillment of the first red door // Painted red with blood on a hyssop branch brush // Poured out from the perfect lamb // Those in the house protected // A no soliciting sign for the salesman of death // Like a halloween house with the porch light out // Like a typo hidden beneath the white out // Our door was dark and silent // Like the birth of the only begotten // Before the situation got violent // And the silence of Egypt // is enough for us tonight

But some of you are saying // “It wasn’t the door, but the trim and the posts // The pillars and the beam” // Well // This is America // We paint the whole town red every Friday night // We were never gonna stop at just the frame // We painted the whole thing red, red as flame // To make it clear to all who came // This house was safe // For weary travelers looking for shelter // In a young and strange country // Come in from the elements // Rest easy // Eat a meal // And forget about the thieves at the shopping mall // And the barkers at the carnival // And the wolves in the wilderness // Enter this red door and find rest // Yes // This is America // Where unemployed ancient subterranean subway cops // Still prowl beneath forgotten underground railroad stops // With doors painted red as signal flares // For escaping slaves seeking life beyond the money crops // The red door says this house welcomes you // Will cover you, will hide you // Will feed you and protect you // From every well dressed white-washed pillar and beam of society // That comes knocking // That seeks to return your body // Your stolen property to its former owner // This house protects you // And says // Not tonight Law Man!

Enter this red door on your way to freedom // This is an invitation // To rest from the journey // An invitation // To shelter from the whip and scourge of the law // An invitation // To love with abandon // A vessel shining bright on a silver sea // Flying a flag of peace // Looking for others alone, adrift // To aid and comfort // To board and dine // And sail on as one fleet // But what is love on these black and barren shores // But an invitation to heartbreak // Losing a parent // Losing a child // Losing a lover // A brother // A friend // Our world shatters // The one we love is gone // Carried off // In the long line of black cars // The funeral procession winds through glass and stucco // Double yellow line creeks and concrete canyons deep // Like a public transit line with a busy schedule to keep // We scatter flowers // A rainbow of featherweight petals set free // Adrift in the steel blue breeze // Of a coming storm of grief // Brewing over waters deep // That will find us on our knees // Like a wounded man out alone // On a boat in the wind // Adrift // Forsaken // Like the beginning // When it reaches out // And touches the end

So now // Without You now // What shall we do, and how? // Should we return to the sea? // The sea on which we loved one as to another // The sea that fed us before You found us // On the shores of Galilee? // But now // Without You now // Where shall we go, and how? // Even if we could return to the sea // To those lives we lived before // The color itself // Would drain from our sails // The greens to gray // And the deeper blues // To an emptiness // As holy as the frayed net // We used to cast wherever You told us // It was You
who filled our nets // How could we foresee this thing // Ever // Happening to You? // How? // Even as we cannot comprehend // We know this cannot be the end // How can we not laugh with You again? // How? // You gave us wine from jars of rain // Lazurus freed from death’s rusted chain // And now? // Your kingdom is on the run? // Hung to dry in the black noon sun // How? // Even now, before morning comes // Long division, zeroes, sums // You could end this empire of wolves on the run // Multiply and carry the ones // A numerical solution to the beam and pillar // On which you hang our hopes like white flags of surrender // But You could flip this script and end it // With mathematical precision and method // Render the power of Rome permanently suspended // But instead you let death do what death did // Unmended // Our cracks have let this black breeze in // And we weep like the weather without a season // But why? // A runaway truck, stuck in the mud, without the keys in // You let your life sink in the black icy lake of death to freeze in // But why? // Wrong question // It’s who? // The answer is you // It’s you, holy church // It’s you , reader // You // You are the reason

Red Door III: Invitation

As your life drained // And flowed like sour wine down the hyssop branch // That was held to slake Your thirst // The same branch that painted the pillars and beam red // The same wine in which You dipped the broken bread // Back when last was last and first was first // And our safe house was a blessing // Well, now it seems cursed // As you suffer there // Those that don’t know You // And even those well versed // They all just walk right by // Turn their heads // And quickly look away // Like this happens every day? // Like a newborn baby? // Like any other funeral? // Life and death // The fruit of sex // The red door of birth // It’s all the same today // But there // There you are // Bleeding Your life out // Painting the door a deeper red // With each dying breath // And beat of Your heart // Pulsing the paint //Through the brush // Of Your own broken body

Communion is a masterpiece often replicated // But rarely painted // Don’t look now but some have fainted // Just outside the door // Where they had waited // Don’t wait // Enter // Through a red door // Through blood and water // You were born into our broken world // And through a red door // Through blood and water // You leave us here // To pick up the pieces // It’s over now // Forsaken // So Holy church // This is your invitation // If you are a disciple of Christ // This is your invitation // Or even if you just followed in the steps of your crazy uncle named Tad who listened to Slayer and smoked buckets of weed and you’re not even sure how you got here today // Even still // This is also your invitation // Into the disciples grief 2024 years back // Just as they saw their world go black // After He broke bread and plead the fifth // Their hope hung out on that cross on the sixth // Come back in three to hear about the first // But tonight holy church // This is your invitation // To the seventh // To the worst // The day between // With the curtain hanging quiet and torn // Forlorn // And no one dared yet divide it // To enter in and be reborn // Not through the temple itself but through the One inside it // Just like our own black hearts until now cut off // But where the presence of God has always resided // Looking for rest // On this sabbath of death // When victory accepted defeat // When the bridge was complete // But no one knew to cross it // Or what it was or what it meant // Or whether they had lost it // Watched it crumble away // A sped up timelapse of a stone temple’s slow decay // Forcing their hands, nothing left to play // They could only fold // So they laid it all down that day // They laid down all they knew of Life and Truth // Laid down all they knew of Torah // Of the Law // And of the Prophets // And of the true Messiah // And everything they thought He sought // To bring about before them // Their deliverance // The coming kingdom // The power of God to restore them // So they laid it down // They laid Him down // They laid it all down before Him // So this is also your invitation // To lay down all your thoughts about him // And enter their grief // Tonight

Holy Church // This is your invitation // Into symbolic communion tonight // Partaking of the grief and loss // Suffered for us // At the cross // An only Son // A hell of a cost // To pay for us // To paint for us // A sufficient shade of crimson // For our eternal redemption // So what then of our sin? // Forgiven! // But sin’s definition? // Its worn thin // Think of yours // Your list of wrongs committed // Like a list of chores // Do them or don’t them // But be careful how you admit it // Holy church, what is it? // Sin is fatherhood // Deprived of daughterhood // And devoid of sonship // A broken relationship // It takes two to tango // But only one to leave the dance // Spoken commandments don’t just come by chance // They come from the One who spoke them // And broken laws from the one who broke them // The action itself, only a token // When we make it something on its own // Outside the relationship broken // We deny the One upon the throne // And show that we don’t even know him // We remain apart // Hiding from our pain //Because of our // Shame // Damn Shame // That’s what keeps us hidden // But holy church // I say to you // Your sins are forgiven! // Not I, but His life in me // That’s my authority // Son and daughter // Sister brother // Father mother // Your sins are forgiven // Toward God and one another // Forgiven! // So forget them // You don’t need any more reminders about your sin // When you hold them in your mind all the time you only worship them // And you don’t need to feel any worse tonight for your struggle within // You need release from the pain of shame’s rat infested prison // Because shame is the true jail that keeps us in // The power behind the sin // That keeps us hidden // Holy church // Be released // From the shame // We’re all the same // Bearers of the holy name // Wounded in this deadly game // Limping we stumble blind and lame // To the One who became // Our shame // And died like a thief // Like a sunset in the east // Like one unworthy of the holy name // But the broken know it when they hear it // So Holy church say hello // To your old friend the Holy Spirit // You’ve been held captive by shame // But you weren’t made to fear it // You were made to rule this beast // So now // Right now // I am saying to you // Be released

Holy Church // This is your invitation // Into a holy riddle // With the thief in the middle // That stole our shame // To restore our name // So now I am inviting you to join us // As together we take our brushes // One after another // And we each paint this canvas black // So as we let go of the beauty we may have seen unfold on this canvas today // Let it be just a small window into the disciples loss on Good Friday // And let this black paint be to you whatever it must // Your sin connected to your body of dust // Your grief connected to whatever you’ve lost // Your shame that keeps you forever counting the cost // Of stepping into the light // Just let it be your own // And whatever it is to you // Leave it with the paint on this canvas // Truly leave it here // Do not take it with you // Out those doors tonight // Come on up and paint it // Face it // The facts are basic // The power of shame he breaks it // Your blackest pain he takes it // And makes it // His home to dwell within you // So come on up // We’ll hand you a brush from the stack // Leave your mark // And let that be that // Because together // Tonight // We’re going to paint it black

Rolling Stones- “Paint it Black”
(Played by the band while the congregation approaches the easel and brushes of black paint are handed to them to leave their marks with, eventually covering the entire painting with heavy black paint…)

I see a red door // And I want it painted black // No colors anymore // I want them to turn black // I see the girls walk by // Dressed in their summer clothes // I have to turn my head // Until my darkness goes // I see a line of cars // And they’re all painted black // With flowers and my love // Both never to come back // I’ve seen people turn their heads // And quickly look away // Like a newborn baby // It just happens everyday // I look inside myself // And see my heart is black // I see my red door // I must have it painted black // Maybe then, I’ll fade away // And not have to face the facts // It’s not easy facing up // When your whole world is black // No more will my green sea // Go turn a deeper blue // I could not foresee this thing // Happening to you // If I look hard enough // Into the setting sun // My love will laugh with me // Before the morning comes // I see a red door // And I want it painted black // No colors anymore // I want them to turn black // I wanna see it painted // Painted black // Black as night // Black as coal // I wanna see the sun // Blotted out from the sky // I wanna see it painted, painted, painted // Painted black, yeah


What now? // What of the resurrection, you ask? // What trick of artistry is this? // Will some beauty emerge from this black canvas even now? // It won’t // Tonight we honor the loss // So as we come to the end // Let us come to the end // Of our own understanding // Lay it all down // And as you grieve the loss // Of the familiar underpinnings of expectations // Just wait // Like the disciples had to do // When they scattered to their homes // Blown by the breeze of grief that blew // Toward an experience of God’s presence anew // When you hear his voice let your heart draw near it // Wait for the Other that dwells with you // Wait for the Holy Spirit // You’ll need a new wineskin // To hold the new wine // The kingdom of this world has passed away // The kingdom of God? // Now is the time // And you are the place // You are loved // Each of you // Heart to heart // And face to face // All of our colors shining in grief together // Makes a blinding and glorious light // Scatter now to your homes tonight // You have been released // Scatter in peace






-Matt Beard

Artwork Information:

Artwork Title: "Body of Water (The Red Door)"
Original Size: 20" x 20"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2016

Additional Artwork Information:

Method: Live Art
Date Painted: 02/07/2016
Nonprofit Beneficiary: Fundraiser for Sumo Sato
Funds Raised: $750

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