Monday, April 6, 2009

The Great Commission

Eastertide seems an appropriate time to introduce, or reintroduce you to one of my paintings.

One Sunday morning a few years back, in early fall, we were driving south on Highway 61 near Maplewood Mall, when I spotted an old, vine-covered telephone pole. I was, at first, attracted by the color of the leaves, and the intricate network of wires and cables. But, almost immediately, it occurred to me that the shape resembled a cross and that the vine, colored by the crisp autumn air, was blood red. The leaves seemed to drip from its branches. I was moved, and turned the car around at the next intersection so that I could take a picture of the scene. A painting was formulating in my mind.

Back at home some weeks later, as I developed the composition for the painting, I prayed for inspiration and guidance to do a piece that would be a successful work and would give glory to God. This is the result.

It is filled with hidden meaning. Three telephone poles depict the crosses at Calvary, those of Jesus and of the 2 robbers hung and crucified on either side of him. The red leaves, dripping from the vine, are symbolic of the blood of the crucified Christ. The dark and rocky foreground suggests the sins of mankind, left at the foot of the cross; the storm clouds give way to blue skies, symbolizing redemption. The birds are purple martins, their royal color reminding us that Christ is King. There are eleven birds, representing the remaining apostles (after Judas, filled with remorse for betraying Jesus, committed suicide). Following the resurrection, they are sent out into the world by Jesus to make disciples of all nations. That act, noted in the book of Matthew, is known as The Great Commission.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:16-20

Have a blessed and memorable Easter,

[Editor's note: The Great Commission is available as a giclee print.]

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