How InterVarsity is responding to COVID-19

 
From the Nest: Marknest Virtual Art Exhibiton
 

During the first week of May 2020, nearly 140 students, staff, and alumni from BC, Quebec, and Ontario gathered virtually to study the entire gospel of Mark. While much of the teaching and discussion took place online, the afternoon sessions were reserved for offline Scripture engagement and free time.
 
One invitation that participants received was to create art in response to their MARKnest experience. Some students recreated scenes from Mark, others reflected on how God was speaking to them during the week. Each piece reveals a unique perspective on the character of Christ and the ways the Holy Spirit has been moving in the MARKnest community.
 
Thank you to all the artists who contributed images, words, and music to this exhibition to bless the MARKnest community and the world. In a time in history where fear and isolation can overwhelm us, these artists have offered us beauty and hope.
 
May these works of art richly bless all of you.

 
 
 

Virtual Art Exhibition

 

Rest in Its Shade

Ink Drawing
Tayah Lee, University of British Columbia (4th Year Cognitive Systems)
IG: @hayat_lee, @pongmanship
“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” — Mark 4:30-32

An Ink Drawing by Tayah Lee titled: Rest in its Shade
Artwork titled Mount of Bread by Kim Nguyen-Stone
 

Mountain of Bread

Paper cutting collage on canvas, 4’ x 5’
Kim Nguyen-Stone, Emily Carr University of Art + Design (InterVarsity Staff)
IG: @kimothyn
This piece was inspired by Jesus’ miraculous feedings in Mark. I’ve always been struck by how Jesus takes the meagre amount of food the disciples bring and transforms it into an abundant feast for thousands of hungry people. In this current climate of COVID-19 (as Canadian grocery shelves are being picked clean of flour and yeast, and fearful humans everywhere are facing the threat of lack), I am moved by Jesus’ posture of love and abundance.
I chose breads from a variety of global cuisines to reflect God’s heart for all nations. Breads depicted include Jewish Challah (symbolic of God’s provision for the Israelites wandering in the wilderness), Indian Naan, Ethiopian Injera (here in rolled format), Indigenous Canadian Bannock, Chinese Mantou, Colombian/Venezuelan Arepa, and French Baguette/Vietnamese Banh Mi.

 

Hardened Heart

Digital Art
Rachel Tam, Langara College (1st Year Food & Nutrition)
The words “hardened heart” really spoke out to me through the past few days. I visualize my heart softening with what God is speaking to me.

 

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Pencil Crayon Drawing
Arujan Rajadurai, Concordia University (2nd Year Civil Engineering)
This passage was close to my heart during my first MARKeast study, and I always struggled with it. However, when I tackled this passage during MARKnest, many unanswered questions were piling up. This piece is depicting a one-on-one session between Jesus and the paralytic. As the paralytic is being lowered, Jesus walks towards him and says, “My son, your sins have been forgiven”.

 

MARKnest on the Balcony

Watercolour 
Lee Matthew Cheuk Fai, McGill University (M1 Architecture)
IG: @lmatthewcf
He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” – Mark 4:21-23

 

Untitled

Fine liners & Copic markers on canvas
Sophia Lee, University of British Columbia (3rd Year International Relations)
“And he said, ‘The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.’” (Mark 4:26-27)
I sketched this out of a prayer that God will grow me like a mustard seed: a slow, steady, and deep growth. A growth where I should sleep and rise night and day, and my seed will have sprouted and grown, and I wouldn’t know how either.

 

Great Calm

Acrylic on Manuscript
Anonymous, Simon Fraser University

 

overgrown

Ink on paper, digital art
Joy Xie, University of British Columbia (2nd Year English)
IG: @xzyumi 
I sometimes feel as if time has ceased to progress as life drowns out my own growth, and I struggle to find my way back to God. Revisiting the parable of the sower and the seeds, I was struck by the imagery of the seed that grows among thorns, but felt that the weeds in my life often don’t feel destructive so much as beautiful and alluring. From that came this eerily serene drawing that is full of life yet, upon closer inspection, completely lifeless.

 

Help My Unbelief

Ukulele and Vocals
Derek Joyce, University of Northern BC/College of New Caledonia (InterVarsity Staff)
The verses are a reflection on some of the prayers and struggles of myself and the disciples as we journey through Mark. The chorus is admiration of Jesus’ choosing into suffering.

Lyrics

I believe help my unbelief
Since my childhood pulled by the world’s strings
I’m weary Lord, so many mouths to feed
Give me faith over my fear you’ll meet the need
Jesus Christ, Son of Man
Longed for Kingdom is at hand
Why must you suffer for your throne
I believe Lord, help my unbelief
Jesus Christ, Son of God
You’ve faced the tempter and you’ve still chosen the cross
Why must you suffer all alone?
I believe Lord, help my unbelief
Daughters rise, these will return to you
Your blood, your breath, your joy receive new life
Sons descend, your pride I take from you
To be the first you must become the slave of all

 

Peace Within a Storm

Acrylic on Canvas
Jessica Wang, Simon Fraser University (2nd Year Health Sciences)
IG: @jess.wangg
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
A storm can be likened to our chaotic, turbulent lives. Especially when we feel overwhelmed, stuck, lost and alone, we may forget God’s power, comfort and confidence. Even though our souls feel isolated, He is with us; in fact, He is closer than ever. Just because we may not visibly see Him, Jesus is with each of us no matter the circumstance. With this in mind, I was inspired to create a stark contrast between light and dark colors to illustrate Jesus’s authority as He quietly, yet mightily, calms our storms within.

 

Four Friends Carry the Paralytic

Pen and Pencil Crayon on Paper
Sophia Gu, University of British Columbia (2nd Year Pharmacology)
IG: @sophia.guu
Based off Mark 2:1-12.

 

Do you not yet understand?

Graphic Design
Archi Balakumaran, OCAD U (InterVarsity Staff)
IG: @abalakumaran
This piece is a reflection of key engagements with bread throughout the Gospel of Mark, highlighting the feeding of the five thousand, feeding of the four thousand, and the last supper. Allowing the viewer the invitation to consider if they understand both the piece and the meaning of each reference.

 

Reflection

Letter/Written Piece
James Dongfang Fang, McGill University (1st Year Computer Science/Economics)
FB: james.fang.4
As I went through my winter semester, the COVID-19 crisis, and then MARKnest, it got me thinking about all the pain in this world, and what we can do to alleviate this pain, just as Jesus used his healing powers to help sick people.

An excerpt from James Fang's written piece which reads: "Jesus doesn't care about fame or popularity or his ego; he cares more about making a difference..." The links goes to the full document.
 

Surrender

Watercolour
Kiara Bennett, Langara College (3rd Year Family Studies/Social Service Worker)
IG: @kiara_bennett
A current theme in my life is learning to relinquish my control over my own circumstances and the lives of those I love. Though I have read the parable of the sower many times and participated in countless discussions with the prompt “What type of soil are you?”, I always thought that my soil was pretty good. However, upon reading Mark 4 this week, verse 16 resonated deep within me. I had a sudden and profound realization that the soil of my heart was not only filled with rocks and stones, but that my roots where intricately wound around them in an effort to seek control and stability all on my own. With this new realization, this week has been a process of letting go of my tight grip within my rocky ground and asking Jesus to plant me in new soil. In this image, I have depicted seven stones falling from my soil as I ask Jesus to lift me up from my old ways and make me whole again by his grace.

 

Hosanna; Save Us

Watercolour
Morrigan McDougall
IG: @browneyedramby
I didn’t think this week would change my view of studying the Bible. I have discovered that what I’ve heard, read, and seen so far over the past few days have stuck with me: ways of praying, reading my Bible, and observing sabbath in ways I haven’t previously done are things I hope can keep with me and continue practicing going forward.

Photography work by Malik Dieleman titled Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

 

Jesus

 

Prayer

Baptized By the Holy Spirit

Digital Photography and Digital Processing
Malik Dieleman, OCAD U (4th Year Photography)

In studying the book of Mark, we discover the importance of the Holy Spirit and prayer, and uncover the true nature of Jesus. The book begins with this powerful scene, where God declares Jesus his beloved Son (Mark 1). I cropped the image to emphasize that Mark is really all about our Saviour Jesus, and that, like Him, we must receive the Holy Spirit.

Baptized By the Holy Spirit

Digital Photography and Digital Processing
Malik Dieleman, OCAD U (4th Year Photography)

In studying the book of Mark, we discover the importance of the Holy Spirit and prayer, and uncover the true nature of Jesus. The book begins with this powerful scene, where God declares Jesus his beloved Son (Mark 1). I cropped the image to emphasize that Mark is really all about our Saviour Jesus, and that, like Him, we must receive the Holy Spirit.

 

Where is Your Faith?

Crayon and Digital Processing
Malik Dieleman, OCAD U (4th Year Photography)
IG: @malikdieleman_artist
malikdieleman.com
The story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41) has stuck with me over the years. Much like the disciples, we get tossed into storms and scramble to figure out our own methods of safety before seeking the help of Jesus. Throughout Mark, Jesus emphasizes the incredible and vital place that faith must have in our lives.

 

Autumn

Music Piece
Evan Ng, University of Toronto (Jazz Performance, Drums)
IG: @ev_catt
The only science course in high school that I took was Biology, because I see so much beauty in God’s creation, and science deepens my love for nature more and more (even though I didn’t get such a good final grade).
Autumn is such a beautiful season. With the variety of the changing of colours — green, yellow, orange, red and all the colours in between.  The chirping of the birds, the skittering of squirrels; it’s a lively time. Autumn is my favourite season.
I didn’t put any lyrics in it because sometimes the music itself speaks louder than words.
I composed this tune when I was in Sabbath, just outside, in the backyard, walking around, and I was just looking at the trees swaying back and forth, listening to the birds chirping, just being present and listening and looking at God’s creation.
I wanted to try to express what the season of autumn SOUNDS like, giving praise and worship to God through the beauty of the acoustic guitar.

 

Fishers of Men

Graphic Design
Katie Harder, Concordia University (2nd Year Kinesiology)
IG: @katie_sounsoo
Jesus calls us to be fishers of men. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. I wanted to illustrate men coming out of the waters of darkness into the hope and life that Jesus offers.

A graphic design work done by Katie Harder
 

Death to Life

Graphic Design
Katie Harder, Concordia University (2nd Year Kinesiology)
IG: @katie_sounsoo
A big theme in Mark is the hardened hearts of the people. I was inspired by the parable of the soils. The thorns and stone represent the bad soil and the flowers represent the fruit coming from a receptive heart. Jesus brings life if we let him change our hearts.

 

Peace Be Still

Graphic Design
Katie Harder, Concordia University (2nd Year Kinesiology)
IG: @katie_sounsoo
Just as Jesus calms the storm with his word and chases the inner storm inside the demon possessed man, Jesus still speaks peace into our lives.

An acrylic painting work titled The Sprit by Janna Lee

The Spirit and Sabbath

Acrylic on Paper
Janna Lee, McGill University (Masters of Social Work)
IG: @jannator14
For both pieces, I was inspired by the texts we were studying in the Morning manuscript sessions and wanted to use art as a way to process the thoughts and feelings and pieces that were standing out to me. I have found that doing art, whether I feel like I’m good at it or not, has been very therapeutic and a great way for me to process and I am excited to be able to share my feelings through painting with you all! (I was originally going to do one for each day, but I have been ill the past couple days and wasn’t able to.)

 

The Four Seeds

Spoken Word, Zoom Room
Written by Erin Mulrooney , Concordia University (3rd Year French Translation) 
Performed by Erin Mulrooney, Bryn Vargas, Isaac Li, Kim Nguyen-Stone
What started as a simple reflection on the parable of the sower, turned into an intricate spoken word piece written from the perspective of the sown seeds.

Overhaul

Digital Photograph Collage
Kim Nguyen-Stone, Emily Carr University of Art + Design (InterVarsity Staff)
IG: @kimothyn
This photo series began with a neighbourhood outing I took with my children in March to say goodbye to some very tall trees. A new school building had been scheduled to begin construction, and in order to set the proper foundation on the school grounds, every single tree (some nearly 75 years old) would need to be cut down.
The 2 lush green photos (positioned straight) are from the last time we saw the trees. We were sad to lose these towering beauties, but the truth is that many of them had diseased roots — which meant that getting rid of them was actually the best path forward.
Mark begins with the introduction of John the Baptizer, who is foretold as the voice crying in the wilderness:
 
“…prepare the way for the LORD,
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low,
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed…”
(Isaiah 40:3-5)

 
John’s message is a bold one: in order to prepare their hearts for the arrival of the Lord, the people need to turn from their sin and become clean. Like tearing down hills to level the earth, repenting from deeply ingrained habits is a complete overhaul.
In our Mark studies, I’ve been compelled by Jesus’ invitation to be soft-hearted, like a new wineskin ready to receive all that he has for me. But in order to do so, I too need to overhaul some areas in my life in order to make space for the one who wants to usher in the kingdom of God.
I decided to revisit the school grounds during MARKnest.
The askew photos show the property, now completely cleared of trees and in the process of being completely overhauled. Instead of sadness, I felt a new sense of hope and excitement for the future thing that will be built.
My son (who is also named John) is beaming because he loves construction vehicles. His happiness reflects the kind of joy that I believe comes from repentance. Overhauling one’s life can be painful, but making space to experience the glory of the Lord makes the reconstruction worth it.

 

Fruit

Oil Paint
Jinfei Wang, Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Visual Arts)
This piece was inspired by the passage in Mark about the fig tree, and the fruit we are to produce as Christians.

An oil painting titled Fruit by Jinfei Wang
 

Come Away

Music Video Recording
Christy Stephens, University of Northern BC (Graduated, Nursing)
This is a song I wrote throughout the week about what was especially highlighted to me as we read through Mark. This week, I was reminded more and more about Jesus’ character — His gentle yet powerful character. Putting myself in the shoes of the characters in Mark — the disciples, blind men, hemorrhaging woman, Ja’irus — I have realized I am in need of mercy, much like them. I am so grateful for Jesus who came to earth to save those who were lost like me!

 

People of God

Charcoal and Pencil Drawing
Malik Dieleman, OCAD U (4th Year Photography)
IG: @malikdieleman_artist
malikdieleman.com
What’s struck me in reading through Mark is just how often there is a large crowd following Jesus and the disciples. In Mark 6, Jesus once again performs a miracle by feeding thousands. However, the disciples once again care more about themselves. The ministry of Jesus shows us how much the people — from the rich to the poor — are loved. Jesus, help me to have compassion on others; to sacrifice like you do.

Untitled

Photographs
Lucia
1-4: Hiking with InterVarsity in Bolivia at 4000+ metres above sea level, Feb 2019.
5. Social distancing community in Vancouver, Apr 2020.

 

1. I’ve got the Bread of Life in my boat!

2. Calling out to God

Doodles on Manuscript
Emily Yung, McGill University (4th Year Medicine)
IG: @emilycyung
1. In between all the work and miracles that Jesus did, He would go with his disciples into the boat to get to the next city. This parallels my life in how amidst my day-to-day work, I too shall get into the boat with Jesus. He is the Bread of Life in whom I find rest and He sustains me for the work he has prepared for me to do at the next destination. He is always with me in the storm and in peace. What a blessing it is to have Him with me always.
2. As the blind man cries out to Jesus and Jesus invites him to speak out the reality of his heart, I too need to cry out to God in helping me see Him for all that He is, the one who ransomed me out of slavery and set me free!

Peace Be Still

Music Video Recording
Danielle Klingelhofer, McGill University (InterVarsity Staff)
After we read Mark chapters 4 and 6, I was inspired to finish a song I started back in the fall. I wrote this song as I was reflecting on my trip to East Asia last summer. Leading up to the trip there were all sorts of trials and challenges and I wondered if I would even make it. Health issues, visa problems, and a lot of fear. I saw that Jesus was in the boat, but wasn’t sure if he was going to do something — was he good?
Once I finally made it on the plane to East Asia I saw how Jesus was caring for me the entire time and had my best interest in mind! I was brought to tears with the realization that yes, he is good.

Song Lyrics

When you pass me by, will I know it’s you?
When you pass me by, will I know it’s you?
You say, you say
Peace Be Still
You Say, you say…
Will you pass me by? Still the stormy sea?
Will you pass me by? Are you in the boat with me?
You say, you say
Peace Be Still
You Say, you say
I am good.

Our Potter

Mixed Media
Kathy Zhu, Langara College (1st Year Early Childhood Education)
In collaboration with her housemates and MARKnest participants
“The sound of many praying at once brought not confusion but a mass harmony of sound and spirit, a mingling together of souls moved by an irresistible impulse of prayer. The prayer sounded to me like the falling of many waters, an ocean of prayer beating against God’s throne.” — excerpt from a David Platt speech
For the past three weeks, I had “make prayer waves” on my phone’s list of reminders. I knew I wanted to take my handwritten prayers and mold them into waves lapping at the shore of God’s throne. I had no idea how I was going to make the throne.
In the meantime, I embarked on another project where I assembled the broken pieces of a beloved ceramic baking dish into a cross. Where the pieces were joined together, I painted over with gold paint in the spirit of kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. I decided to get this word tattooed onto my left forearm a few years before I decided to follow Jesus. I always say that it makes so much more sense now.
During MARKnest, I asked God to help me finish this art piece as the background was still empty. He asked me back, “What if you filled it with waves of prayers? Not just your own, but a mass harmony of sound and spirit, a mingling together of souls?” I rolled my eyes and thought, “Come on, God, that is so cheesy. I mean, asking others for prayers for my art project, seriously? I can finish it on my own. I have more than enough of my own prayers.”
The next day, I made a Facebook post in the MARKnest group asking for people to be a part of what used to be an individual art piece, now turned into a collaboration, a togetherness. I thought of the golden bowls in Revelation 5:8, full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Our prayers, which I am honoured to present to you.
It is 1:42am, and it all came together just now – the prayers, the cross, the throne. Today, we read Mark 11, when Jesus enters into Jerusalem, victorious and righteous, lowly and riding on a colt. They hail him as their Messiah, but they do not yet understand that the victory they long for is in the cross. The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many; our servant king ascends his throne as he hangs on the cross.
Jesus, thank you is not enough, for you made possible what was impossible for us. Your greatest suffering became the greatest victory over sin and death, for you have risen, and now your presence dwells within us as we pray.
May our prayers continue to beat against your throne, O God.

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