I had the chance to go to the Art Institute while I was visiting family in Illinois. Of all the museums in Chicago, it is my favorite. The visitors treated each gallery much like a sacred space, silently taking in the paintings and artifacts on display. I found the Impressionists gallery images drew me in, made me pause to reflect, and brought joy to my heart. Manet, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, their work hanging on the wall, leaving a piece of their minds, hearts, and even souls for thousands to see each day.
One of my favorite pieces is a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. As his paintings evolved his brush strokes changed, his feelings being left more and more on each canvas.
Other images I love include the Haystack series by Monet, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat, and Van Gogh’s pastoral scenes.
Each painter used his or her own technique and approach to capture their subject. The brush strokes of Degas are different from Seurat’s pointillist approach, which are different than the broad strokes of Van Gogh.
I see God’s hand in each of us the same way. We are created by the Master Creator, but each stroke, each shape of ourselves, even our emotional self, is different. When I watch my husband as he creates a meal, I see God’s handiwork. My husband makes a dish with ingredients that complement instead of compete, with the results often bringing praises to the cook.
Walking around our farm I see God’s fingerprints on the trees, the sky, the way the fields undulate, the sound of the geese calling to each other in the sky. During the days of Creation in Genesis, God could have chosen to make five different types of things and called it good. But instead, He created colors, sounds, sizes, textures, scales, feathers, furs, and skins all diverse from each other.
When we create with words, music, numbers, or food we are recreating the same moments. We are sharing in the artistry of God, not as His equal, but as a way of expressing our gratitude to His diversity.
Best Beloved, do you understand that you are a work of art? A masterpiece? We were created in the image of God, His masterpiece, unique, with His special touches, His blessings, His design.
In the morning when you look in the mirror, remember this truth. We are looking at priceless images, just as if they hung on the walls of the Art Institute of Chicago.