Epiphany Description by James Christensen:
“How do you portray that feeling when the Spirit descends on you and fills you with light? We know what it means, but it’s hard to describe. Words are often not adequate to explain the feeling. We might say it’s like being filled with heat and light and love, but it’s none and all of those things. It is very personal, which makes it hard to talk about.
“I’ve always felt that defining a spiritual experience is very much like trying to define love. Writers and poets have tried to express ‘love’ in words for hundreds of years. Some things we read give us a feeling or a cue about what love is like, but nothing ever really gets it right. Love is beyond words. It is nonverbal and the attempt to explain it in language trivializes the moment to some extent.
“Every once in a while the Lord will give you an ‘aha’ moment when he deems that you need one. For me, he chose trash night. I was carrying the trash can down the driveway and all of a sudden I just lit up. I was consumed with light and warmth. I can remember it today as clearly as the moment it happened. I thought I was on fire. My soul was filled. I just stood there for seconds, holding the trash can, feeling out of space and time. It then just gradually dissipated.
|“No words were spoken out loud, but when I set the trash can down, I thought, ‘I’m going to be called to serve the Church.’ Even though I was anxious and felt overwhelmed and under qualified, I knew that the Lord wanted me there and I knew that with his help, I could fulfill the calling.
I painted the fire in this image with gold leaf, so when from across the room, the gold catches the light and reminds me of a twenty-nine-year-old junior high school teacher taking out the trash.”
About James Christensen:
James Christensen was born in 1942 and raised in Culver City, California. He studied
painting at Brigham Young University and, for a while, the University of California at Los Angeles before finishing his formal education at BYU. Since then, he has had one-man shows in the West and the Northeast, and his work is prized in collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.
The artist has been commissioned by both Time/Life Books and Omni to create illustrations for their publications and his work has appeared in the prestigious American Illustration Annual and Japan’s Outstanding American Illustrators. Christensen has also won all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction Convention can bestow, as well as multiple Chelsey Awards form the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.
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