Once upon a time an Artist originated a stunning work of art. Mixing various media such as sculpture, water color, oil, ink, movement, texture, and light, the Artist created a piece the likes of which no one had before beheld. Pleased, The Artist displayed the piece prominently at a cross-roads for all to see. Travelers trekked from afar to admire the piece, which ignited in them a burning desire to create also. When this happened, the Artist, standing off unnoticed, bowed his head and smiled.
Strangely the Artist did not scribble his signature on the piece, believing his authoritative strokes, unique colors, and complex designs spoke for him. The Artist also left his work untitled hoping those drawn to it would christen it. Soon enough it became known as The Creation. The Artist took great pleasure in the joy his work brought and so scattered smaller pieces of art throughout the world. Predictably Art flourished.
For a time.
Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Isaiah: 39:1-41:16: I laughed when I read chapter 39:1-8. King Hezekiah makes a dumb move and shows his enemies all his treasure and secrets. As a result, God comes to him through Isaiah and makes one of the easiest predictions ever. You gave Babylon the map to your palace and key to your house. Now they will come and steal all you have amassed and worked for. Even your grandchildren will be taken away.
Hezekiah’s response? I’m so glad it won’t happen in my time.
How often does God use the natural consequences of our dumb choices as punishment for not obeying and listening to him? And how often do we continue in our ignorance simply because we won’t experience those consequences and that wrath immediately?
Ephesians 1:1-23: This chapter contains one of Paul’s beautiful prayers. One of the things this prayer (and his others) challenged me with is how large and mighty it is. He does not pray for the Ephesians’ physical ailments or anything daily or mundane (though these things are good to give to God). He prays instead that we can know God, his glorious gifts, his deep love, and his promises. When I read these prayers, how little mine seem. This, this makes me want to pray for a resurrection of my faith and for the great things of God. Then maybe my cold and cough will wither in comparison.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
After time, however, Art Critics thrived and complained that The Creation, and all of The Artist’s other works, carried no signature. Thus Controversy as to the true identity of the Creator of The Creation also flourished.
Eventually people not only Denied that the The Artist conceived The Creation but further Claimed that their artists had–artists with names such as Baal, Pan, Zeus, Mother Nature, and Chance. Rivalries bloomed. Schools of thought evolved. Many revered The Creation rather than The Artist. Others rose up and reasoned that, because no one had seen The Artist or any artist, that no Artist existed. Instead, they argued, “Our fear and ignorance invented the idea of an Artist to help us understand The Creation.” But they couldn’t explain how The Creation originated. Some argued that since no Artist exists The Creation must have Spontaneously flared into being.
This View ultimately won the day and The Creation evolved into an Object of study rather than an awe inspiring work of Art. Its paint, canvas, frame, material, and techniques were studied, tested, weighed, categorized, and controlled. Unfortunately, to those studying it, The Creation lost its Beauty and Wonder, becoming a conquered object. The Critics further erected a wall around The Creation and, to appease those still traveling to see it, made available, at a small cost, blurred prints. Consequently all of the other unique works of The Artist became objects of study as well, only valued if they served a purpose The Critics supported. Art as The Artist designed it died.
Now The Artist wept bitterly. But not because of a lack of recognition for his work. For had he wanted Fame he would have fixed his signature unmistakably on his every piece. The Artist mourned because his Original Idea, for all of those who admired The Creation to become intimate with his ways as artists themselves, miscarried. Decay flourished.
Inconceivably The Artist bowed his head, smiled and returned to The Creation determined to recreate and reinspire Art. In a final, powerful, artistic stroke The Artist sculpted A Cross that blended the image of his love for all artists with the pain The Artist felt when Art in them died. A small but unstoppable revolution followed. The Artist established an Artist Colony designed to incite all to learn Art. Lesser artists then became Art teachers passing on the Wonder and Technique of The Artist to all future generations. Today that Colony of Artists stands in the Crossroads–commissioned to Declare the love and wonder of The Artist himself.
“‘To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?‘ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.”
What is our place in the cosmos? We belong in the heart and hand of the Artist. We too are the work of The Artist’s hand and he calls each of us by name as well.
- Which passage spoke most to you?
- Which part of creation points you to God?
- What do you most often pray for?
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