Day 3: The Painting

Read: Genesis 1:14-19

            In my grandparents’ home, above the stone-chinked fireplace, there has hung, as long as I can remember, a painting of a small wooded lake at sunrise. The pinks bleed into blues from the horizon, and reflect across the water like a skipping stone to the viewer, almost as if it were a window instead of a canvas. My internal response, when beholding the pastels on that canvas, has always been something along the lines of, “What an amazing painting.” Most recently when I was there, I asked–for the first time– about the work. I learned that the work on that wall was my aunt’s, and my response has forever changed to, “What an amazing painter.” Not only when I look at the painting do I think of my aunt, but now in regarding my aunt all of the conclusions, responses, or emotions evoked by that painting have been shifted by the light of the knowledge of who painted it.

It is hard to deny the intense and captivating beauty of the heavenly bodies surrounding planet Earth. All of us have had our breath caught in our chest by a streaking meteor, or have felt the grand shrinking feeling of sitting under a star-peppered sky. But, it is easy to forget the Painter of the stars, and easier still to reflect the moment no further than a warm feeling, to be forgotten in the morning light.

Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”  There is a sense, in the beginning of Genesis, that God wants to make Himself known by His work like a painter whose prestige is built by the success of His paintings. The author’s will, in the description of God’s creation of the sun, moon, and stars, is so that when we gaze upon the sun and moon and stars, we will recognize them as the works of God. 

In looking at the text, it is abundantly certain, according to the purposes for which God creates the heavenly bodies, that they were for us. Not that they aren’t beautiful and pleasing to Him; they are, and He calls them “good,” but let it stand that it is humans who use the sun, moon, and stars for days and signs and years. It is essentially the most lavish, extravagant, and beautiful calendar imaginable. 

The verses today provide an opportunity to adjust our thinking when examining the handiwork of God. For so long, like that painting in my grandparents’ home, we have looked upon creation, and sighed at the wonder and beauty of it, without ever thinking to marvel at the expression of the divine Painter in His work.

Where is it in your life that you have refused to think of God in light of His work? Is there a painting in your life of which your love has never been reflected back onto the painter? The story here highlights a change of perspective that leads to a posture of appreciation and love; are there places your perspective needs to change so that you might grow in appreciation and love? 

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