Friday, December 29, 2006
Infant Messiah - Infinite Messiah
I was nervous. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I was.
I was at church an hour before the service. I was sitting in the Prayer Room. I had candles lit. I had said The Lord’s Prayer twice. I was trying to wrap my mind around what it cannot.
The previous day I had set the easel and canvas in place. All the paints were at hand, brushes ready.
I had a clear vision of what I would do, how I would skimp on details so it would be “finished” before the services were over... but the reality behind the image, the Truth I recognized in the image, was, is, larger than my mind and heart can hold.
Fourteen years ago my son was scheduled to portray the infant Jesus in a little reenactment at a friend’s stable... but he died three days before that was to happen. Now he was to play that role on Christmas Eve in a way I had never foreseen, and I was preparing my heart in the solitude of our prayer room.
It is a small role, a little pretending, merely a model for his dad’s work who was attempting to speak a prayer, paint a prayer, on the wonder of God squeezing into reality, into a mere four dimensions, so He could love us more dearly, hold us with hands of flesh, look into our eyes as we are accustomed to looking into the eyes of each other.
But the truth of this is so hard to describe!
Born to love and heal and care and teach and hold and suffer and die...
My pastor and friend came in, we prayed as we usually do before the service.
And I went out to join my family. The Advent candle was lit, I walked up to the canvas.
Sometimes painting can be a struggle. It can seem a battle to get the colors right, push them where they should be. It wasn’t this time.
I was relaxed as far as the image itself went. I really didn’t care overly much what the finished product was going to be. I knew it would fall far short of the reality I was feeling, and since I was already so far behind The Truth of it, what did it matter if the colors weren’t exactly right, or there was a line or shape not quite where I wanted it?
The Truth was so much more than I could contain... it was some relief to let it spill out onto the canvas, to get it out of my heart.
My son’s face is there, but it is only a stand in for The Truth...
A golden infant... floating in cerulean blue... bearing terrible wounds, the evidence of a fallen humanity, of evil inflicted upon innocence... and deep eyes squinting above a mouth open in joy and laughter. The events of His mortal life, the Nativity and the Crucifixion, mingled in a single image, floating in an eternity beyond the reality of this world.
It was the smile... I kept thinking about it.
Pure joy flowing out, rushing out, laughing, shouting a wordless call of love and companionship to all of Creation, welcoming us all into a relationship with divinity.
At one point during the service I began to tremble. That smile... that smile of love and forgiveness, there before creation, there long after these hands which grip brushes will be turned to dust...
Too often I write in this little blog words which are fine sounding, authoritative... pompous. That is all they are, words, sounds blown from a self-centered, self-important ego of a little man, a small part of such a larger creation! How little those words mean. I am merely a shadow, a ghost of the reality of what is The Truth of Creation. There is a Lord of lords who loves me more than I can possibly understand. A being of infinite grace and glory Who is so far beyond the poor splash of color I have made that all that is are mere refections of the pure creative glory of Him.
Oh worthy Lord! Almighty Lord! Thank You sweet King of all creation! God of Wonders! Holy, Holy, Holy Master of all things. I am so honored... Grant me the privilege to live my life for You! Eternal God, immortal Son of David... I love You Lord! Thank You for the thousands, millions of blessings You pour into my life! I am Yours Lord. Do with me as You will. --Amen... Amen... Amen...