What art teaches us
Ministry of Reconciliation
True Love’s Welcome
Write 31 Days, day 6
Today’s Prompt: Belong
Today, I wrote a brief reflection on the Trinity, inspired by the 15th century icon The Trinity by Andrei Rublev.
On a clear day, I saw them from a long way off. At first, I could barely make them out. From such a distance, I could not say whether there were three or one as they seemed to blend into one another. As I drew closer, they came into focus, the three seated around a small table. At first glance, I struggled to tell them apart; thankfully they each wore different robes.
Watching them kindled a longing I had never felt before. Intimacy flowed between them. There was no sense of posturing, no one-ups-man-ship. They genuinely delighted in being with one another. So often, with meetings of more than two, cliques begin to form. Two will buddy up tighter than the third. Not so here. They each reveled not only in the others, but even in the connection between the other two. I was seeing love embodied.
As I continued to gaze upon them from my safe distance, tears wet my cheeks. Never before had I witnessed something so beautiful. In that moment I beheld perfection. Oh, to be loved like that! To experience such divine intimacy. It touched upon every desire I had ever felt. Yet I remained outside, hidden.
I intended to sneak away quietly. To interrupt them would be to intrude upon perfection, and I was unwilling to disturb what they had with one another. As I raised up to leave, they looked my way. I expected irritation, but saw delight. I expected disappointment, but they exuded joy.
As one, they beckoned, “Come join us.”
“I couldn’t. I wouldn’t want to intrude,” but every part of me resisted my own words.
“We’ve been waiting for you. There is already a place at the table,” they said invitingly.
“But as I have watched you, I have witnessed perfection. I fear that if I join in, I will diminish perfection.”
“Friend, nothing you have ever done, thought, or said can diminish us. Rather, our love will envelop you. You belong. You have always belonged. You were created for no other purpose than to be in fellowship with us.”
And, hoping against hope, I took my seat and felt true love’s welcome.
I wanted to paint something that showed that divinity meets us in our everyday-ness in the Lord’s Supper, the wonder of the incarnation. The miracle of our salvation is remembered in common elements: bread and wine. Jesus said as as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we do it in remembrance of him.
Use your tools beautifully
In 1991, a man wielding a hammer beneath his jacket attacked Michelangelo’s David, one of the most recognizable pieces of art in the world. In 1972, Michelangelo’s Pieta–in my opinion the most beautiful sculpture in existence–was also attacked and disfigured.
Michelangelo crafted the Pieta in the late 1400s and David in the early 1500s, wielding a hammer and chisels. In the case of David, he was faced with a giant block of marble that had stood rejected by other artists for 40 years. Yet in that shapeless piece of stone, he saw beauty. He released David. Removing rock and shaping limbs, he released the hero, revealing beauty.
Each of us are given daily choices. We can use the tools we have been given to highlight and reveal beauty, or we can use them to destroy. So much of what I see on social media is disintegrating and destructive. People seek to press their opinions without seeking to embody love. Yet divisiveness isn’t limited to social media. How we speak with our families can also prove destructive rather than encouraging and upbuilding. Our judgmental glances, looks, and words toward those who are different from us are destructive.
Each day, we are given choices to seek peace or conflict; to live beautifully or cruelly; to seek commonality or promote division.
What are you doing with your tools?
Recently, while making up a song on the spot, my son asked me why I was so weird. I said, “I’m just expressing my #joy.” He said, “why must you express your joy so differently?”
I told him, “in a world filled with dandelions, I’m a balloon.”
Two pieces from today
Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness shared experience, and transform despair into hope.-Brené Brown