Rest on the Flight into Egypt | Art for A Christmas 2

Matthew 2:13 An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt…

Rest on the Flight into Egypt
(b. ca. 1430, Colmar, d. 1491, Breisach)
Rest on the Flight into Egypt
c. 1745
Engraving, 254 x 194 mm
Museum of Art, Cleveland
Click image for more information.
This scene and folk story from The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (scroll down to chap 20)
travelled to Europe becoming, with many changes, The Cherry Tree Carol.
Known in several variations here is a performance by Joan Baez.

Commentary by Hovak Najarian

Rest on the Flight into Egypt, engraving, c. 1470-75, Martin Schongauer, 1430 -1491

Johannes Guttenberg invented moveable type and printed the Bible not long before Martin Schongauer engraved, “Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” but since most people could not read, art remained an essential means of learning stories of the Bible. During the fifteenth century the range of subjects expanded widely and stories about Mary were enhanced with lore. In addition to events such as the Annunciation and the Nativity, stories based on tradition often were included in illustrations of her life.

When Herod learned the “King of the Jews” had been born he was troubled and ordered all males who were two years old and under in Bethlehem and its region to be killed. When an angel warned Joseph of Herod’s plan, “…he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod” (Mat. 2:14). Schongauer’s engraving is based on an account from the non-canonical book, The Gospel of Pseudo Matthew, which tells of a rest stop taken while the family was on their journey. After three days, Mary was tired, hungry, and thirsty so they stopped under a date tree; Mary looked up at the fruit but could see that it was too high to reach. The baby Jesus said, “O tree, bend thy branches and refresh my mother with thy fruit.” Schongauer depicts five angels bending the tree thus allowing Joseph to reach the dates. Jesus then caused water to flow from the roots of the palm tree and the family was refreshed.

It was a common practice for artists of this time to include symbolic content in their work. Some of the flora and fauna in this print may seem gratuitous to us now but in its day the meaning would have been understood. The stag, a symbol for Christ and a destroyer of serpents, is standing watch through the trees in the background. It was believed a stag sheds its horns and then renews them after drinking from a spring – likewise people who drink from the spring of the spirit shed their sins and are renewed. In the right foreground, the dandelion, a symbol of Christ’s passion, is a reminder of the future that awaits the child. The lily at the left foreground is a symbol of Mary’s purity, and to the far left is a dragon tree. Two lizards are on its trunk and one is approaching it. The presence of lizards, serpents, and dragons represents the devil and lurking danger. At the very top of the tree is yet another symbol; a parrot. Because a parrot has the ability to fly and talk it symbolizes a messenger and is associated with the angel that brought word of the Immaculate Conception to Mary. In paintings of Mary, a parrot is sometimes placed by her ear as though it has just said, “Ave Maria.” When not with Mary, a parrot may be placed high in a tree (as here in the dragon tree) where it can not be reached by serpents.

Hovak Najarian © 2013

Advent Calendar Day 23: The Episcopal Refugee Network

The Episcopal Refugee Network

As citizens of the 21st century we are sadly acquainted with the results of violent conflict and genocide, or drought and famine as hundreds of thousands of persons become refugees and are displaced from family, home, and even country. On behalf of you and me and all people of goodwill the Episcopal Refugee Network of our Diocese is working to meet the needs of refugees who arrive in San Diego.

Quote . . .San Diego hosts almost 3500 Sudanese refugees, mainly from the Dinka, Nuer, Bari and Equatorial tribal areas of the Sudan. … The Refugee Network also helps families who have been displaced by genocide in Burma and Bhutan.” From our Diocesan website

The work of the Episcopal Refugee Network

The Episcopal Refugee Network supports families during
their years of adjustment to American life by providing:

  • Help with documentation
    Enrolling children at school
    Social Security registration
    Welfare/benefits registration
  • Translation for
    Medical visits
    Official interviews
    Registering children at School
  • Assistance in
    Obtaining employment
    –filling out applications etc…
  • Tutoring Programs

Learn more: About The Episcopal Refugee Network

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For further reflection


Two Frequently Asked Questions answered by International Justice Mission:

Who are refugees and displaced persons?

They are men, women and children fleeing war, persecution and political upheaval. They are uprooted with little warning, enduring great hardship during their flight. They become refugees when they cross borders and seek safety in another country. They are displaced when they are forced to flee their homes, but remain within the borders of their native country.

The 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 protocol defines a refugee as a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…”

The U.S. will not recognize persons who have participated in war crimes and violations of humanitarian and human rights law, including the crime of terrorism, as refugees. They are specifically excluded from the protection accorded to refugees.

How many refugees and displaced persons are there, and who makes up the majority of the refugee population?

Right now there are about 42 million displaced people in the world.   One in every 170 persons in the world has been uprooted by war.  This is the largest category of vulnerable people in the world.  About one third of them are officially recognized refugees because they have crossed an international border.  The other two thirds are so-called internally displaced persons, or IDPs, because they are still within their own country.  Of the world’s 12 million or so refugees, about 3.2 million are in Africa.  In addition, Africa has about half of the world’s 25 million IDPs.

80 percent of the world’s refugees are women and children who are more vulnerable to their unstable conditions.

Source: International Rescue Committee Frequently Asked Questions About Refugees and Resettlement accessed 16 Dec 2011

Image: Episcopal Refugee Network Home Page

Advent Calendar Day 21: Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Members of the Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s are a generous lot. In Lent 2011 we were introduced to Charity Navigator—an online “guide to intelligent giving.” Many of us (me included) now use this online resource to help us in our charitable giving. We offer this link as a gift to you in the Advent Season.  ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .Charity Navigator, America’s premiere independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of America’s largest charities.” A self-description found on the Home Page.

Goal of Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. Our goal is to help people give to charity with confidence. At the same time, we aim to help charities by shining lights on truly effective organizations. In doing so, we believe we can help ensure that charitable giving keeps pace with the growing need for charitable programs.

Our approach to rating charities is driven by those two objectives: helping givers and celebrating the work of charities.

Learn more: Methodology used by Charity Navigator
Home Page of Charity Navigator

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For further reflection

Here our Forum introduces you to “Charities building roadblocks to human trafficking” highlighted by Charity Navigator. Consider it an extension of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Charities building roadblocks to human trafficking

Only last week (12/10) the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence concluded. December 10th is annually designated Human Rights Day by the United Nations. Human trafficking is violent and abuses the rights of the most vulnerable. Here is what Charity Navigator has to say about the issue. Organizations working to eradicate this abuse are listed here.

Each year in June, the U.S. Department of State releases the annual Trafficking in Persons Report in order to document the efforts by foreign governments to bring an end to human trafficking. The most recent report highlighted what most international non-profits already know: that the problem is as widespread as it is complicated.

Called the modern day slavery, human trafficking has many forms. Labor trafficking, bonded labor, sex trafficking, child sex tourism, forced child labor and child soldiering are among the more vicious.

People can become trapped in these situations through force, or drawn in through fraud or coercion by traffickers that prey on their desperation and trust. Immigrants, domestic workers and children are especially at risk.

Beyond the human rights impacts of trafficking, there can be serious health impacts including physical and psychological abuse, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex trafficking plays a large part in spreading the AIDS epidemic worldwide.

Unfortunately, ending these practices is not a simple matter. There continues to be a large supply of victims, especially in developing countries where poverty makes people vulnerable to fraudulent promises of employment or a better life elsewhere. Demand also remains high in more prosperous countries, making the practice even more difficult to eradicate.

Non-profits of all stripes are increasingly focusing on the issue of human trafficking. Some work to raise awareness of the issue; others are working in communities to protect the vulnerable and to alleviate the conditions that encourage trafficking; others concentrate on rescuing and reintegrating trafficked victims.

Note: The list of organizations highlighted by Charity Navigator is on the right hand side of the page from which this essay is taken: Charities building roadblocks to human trafficking

On 12/15/11 CNN reported that Google made $11.5 million worth of grants to organizations fighting modern day slavery (human trafficking). Google joins fight against slavery with $11.5 million grant.

International Justice Mission (IJM), “a Washington-based human rights agency that works to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation in about a dozen countries” was one of the grant recipients. IJM is a 4-star organization as rated by Charity Navigator.

Image: Charity Navigator logo from their website

Advent Calendar Day 20: Disabled American Veterans

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

Richard in our Forum is the Service Officer for the local Chapter of the DAV. Our congregation is filled with men and women who have served our country, served us; some have survived wounds received in their service to us. We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women. ~dan

Mission Statement

Building better lives for America’s disabled veterans.

DAV Home Page: Disabled American Veterans
DAV Chapter 66 Palm Springs 

Previous posts about Veterans

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For further reflection

You can help

Image: DAV logo from their website.
Video: Public Service Announcement by the DAV on YouTube

Advent Calendar Day 19: Kiva


Suzanne and others from our Forum use Kiva regularly to do good and to change the world. It is a simple way to give a gift that gives life. And, as the gift is used and you are repaid, you can give it again. ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. (Kiva website)

Why we do what we do

We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.

We believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

How we do it

Making a loan on Kiva is so simple that you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes.

Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. One hundred percent of your loan is sent to these microfinance institutions, which we call Field Partners, who administer the loans in the field.

Kiva relies on a world wide network of over 450 volunteers who work with our Field Partners, edit and translate borrower stories, and ensure the smooth operation of countless other Kiva programs.

Source: About Kiva

Learn more: How it works

Current opportunities to lend

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The people behind Kiva include volunteers, Kiva Fellows, Field Partners, our board, and a team of employees (shown above) and contractors. The Kiva headquarters are located in San Francisco, California

A quick look at the work being done:

A short video tour about how it works

How Kiva Works from Kiva on Vimeo.

Photo and statistics: from the website

Advent Calendar Day 18: Tools for Tomorrow

Tools for Tomorrow

Rachel Druten is the President and Founder of Tools for Tomorrow and a member of St. Margaret’s. Children throughout the Coachella Valley benefit from this unique after-school program. A number of St. Margaret’s members volunteer time or have helped raise the funds to continue this life-changing work in our Coachella Valley.

Quote . . .Tools for Tomorrow provides free, on-site, after school literacy enrichment programs integrating writing, drama, art and music for Coachella Valley elementary school children.” Mission Statement of Tools for Tomorrow

Mission Statement

Tools For Tomorrow provides free, on-site, after school literacy enrichment programs integrating writing, drama, art and music for Coachella Valley elementary school children.

Tools For Tomorrow promotes cognitive, emotional, social, multi-sensory and critical thinking skills by offering children a hands-on experience in Art, Music, Creative Writing and Drama.

Tools For Tomorrow encourages the children’s artistic self-expression and nurtures the positive self-esteem resulting from the discovery of their inherent creativity. As they create their own works of Art they acquire a coping mechanism for the future; a “tool for tomorrow”

The Tools For Tomorrow Curriculum provides stimulation, productivity, success and competence and assures that each child feels successful as they create original works in art, creative writing, drama, and music while enjoying themselves in the learning and creative processes and developing the necessary competencies that will carry them through life.

Learn more: Tools for Tomorrow

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Program gives children Tools for Tomorrow

Jacky, 9, wrote: “Daddy says the world is like a drum, tight and hard. I told him I am going to beat out my own rhythm.”

That’s the kind of creative thinking that Tools For Tomorrow students are exhibiting throughout the valley.

The free after-school program integrates creative writing, art, music and drama for children and is supported by an auxiliary, grants, donations and in-kind services.

“It provides children with a sense of accomplishment,” said board member Jim Reed.

About 80 Tools For Tomorrow supporters recently gathered for a fundraising dinner at Indian Wells Country Club, where they witnessed the fruits of their dollars as students from Harry S. Truman Elementary School in La Quinta gave short and humorous poetry readings and Vista del Monte players acted out “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

The evening began with wine, piano stylings by Jackie Doyle and socializing around the silent auction table and a display of gift cards designed by the students. Each guest also took home “A Retrospective” of the student’s work, underwritten by Jim Houston in memory of his late wife, Jackie Lee Houston.

Indian Wells councilwoman Mary Roche welcomed the crowd, introducing president and founder Rachel Bryant Druten, who saw a need for this program 13 years ago.

“I truly believe that Tools For Tomorrow and programs like it can develop in children hearts and minds that will change the world,” she said.

Druten then introduced the director of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Dr. Janice Lyle, who presented an informative presentation on “what is happening behind the pink walls.”

Tools for Tomorrow affiliates enjoying the evening included Audrey Moe, Courtney Moe, Joani Maltzman, Jean Ann Hirschi, Richard Victor and Lee Appel, who is also a board member.

Source: The Desert Sun, November 26, 2011 (by Shirley Brenon)

Image: Tools for Tomorrow website

Advent Calendar Day 17: California Interfaith Power and Light

California Interfaith Power & Light (CIPL)

Though many are of the opinion that global warming or climate change is a myth, men and women of faith, including our own bishops, believe we have a been called by God to care for creation. We have a responsibility to God, to each other, and to all of creation to be good stewards of God’s gifts in creation.

California Interfaith Power and Light is one way that men and women of faith have banded together to answer God’s call to care for all of creation.

Mission Statement

The mission of California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL) is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. This ministry intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard public health, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.

About this ministry: California Interfaith Power and Light 

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Can Faith Slow Climate Change?

Give us all a reverence for the Earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory.

The prayer was recited regularly by a young Sally Bingham growing up in San Francisco.

Only years later, as an ordained Episcopal Church priest, did Bingham realize something was amiss with the childhood supplication.

“There was this terrible hypocrisy,” she said. “This disconnect between what we said we believed in and how we behaved.”

This bothered her for years until 1998 when, in her 50s, she finally took action.

Bingham founded what today is Interfaith Power and Light, a national campaign promoting “a religious response to global warming” that works with 10,000 congregations in 38 states.

“Climate change is one of the most challenging moral issues of our time,” she said in an Earth Day sermon at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral where she is now Reverend Canon for the Environment.

Faith communities around the world are taking action – both personal and political – as the moral implications of climate change become more apparent.

While politics is split on climate change and governments worldwide have failed to pass meaningful climate legislation, faith communities are becoming a powerful force in the transition to green energy. By focusing on values rather than politics, they are transcending partisan pigeonholes and taking care of what they see as God’s creation, and the people – particularly the poor – who depend on it.

“If you are called to love your neighbor, you don’t pollute your neighbor’s air,” Bingham said.

More than 300 evangelical leaders have signed the Evangelical Environmental Network’s climate call to action, including mega-church leaders like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. A 2007 poll commissioned by the group found that 84 percent of evangelicals support legislation to reduce carbon emissions.

Read the entire article in the Scientific American November 30, 2010: Can Faith Slow Climate Change?

Image: CIPL logo from their website