Friday, December 29, 2006

Infant Messiah - Infinite Messiah

(Details finished - click to enlarge)

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...


36 comments:

Anonymous said...

My son’s face is there, but it is only a stand in for The Truth...


That is all any painting or any other form of art is - a stand in for 'The Truth' that inspires it...

The post is a beautiful commentary on why you do it.

Anonymous said...

beautiful post ... beautiful painting.

Looney Mom said...

What an awesome concept you have captured there. It is a beautiful painting. What a tribute.

Ame said...

"I am merely a shadow, a ghost of the reality of what is The Truth of Creation."

yes, we are.

but what is so amazing about that is that God takes these shadows and fills them with Him, and then we become so much more than a ghost of the reality - we become the Reality living His purposes out through us!

may it ever be so :)

amen ... amen ... and amen :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant,

The Lord has blessed you with not only artistic talents...but you also have a gift of words. Words that convey your heart and mind.

It kind of reminds me of Max Lucado. What you do with art...Max does with words. What I mean is that is that he brings a new aspect or dimension to something you may have read in the Bible many times before. It sparks your imagination...and makes you wonder and marvel about God.

Your picture here...makes you want to dwell on the precious Christ child...and what His life would have been like.

Thank you so much...Susan

One more question for you. When you draw or paint...do you find that you have this thing...this image...this whatever in your heart and mind that you just need to get out on canvas? That's somewhat akin to how I approach some of my writing. Not always...but the ones I feel are more inspired.

jel said...

CS, WoW

you did it!

thanks for sharing this

Julana said...

Thank you for sharing your vision of the Incarnation. It's hard to imagine the reality of what that meant, in its totality. Sometimes, I think there should be a little more silence around Christmas.

Fred said...

The story, along with the drawing, were perfect. Well done.

Happy New Year to you and your family, Cs.

Anonymous said...

Curious! Thank you, my dear friend!
Thank you for coming to comment, so that I could come here and see this Holy Spirit-inspired painting of the memory of your son and for the love of our dear Lord, Jesus!

I did not know about your son. I am not certain if you have been reading my posts long enough to know about my son who also passed away very early in life...22 mos....David. I am not certain if I wrote about the skin openings at the time of his passing.
From the usage of needles to place IV's to help him, he had wounds in the same exact places that our Lord had at the time of His suffering and death. He had IV's poked into the veins of his hands, feet, and his head. He had a surgery performed under the liver and above the gall bladder on the right side of his body...which was left open as a billiostomy. When a person's liver fails...which was what happened in his case, the vitamin K factor doesn't work eventually and bleeding will definitely occur at the sites where the body has been opened ...such as by the surgery and the needles. I only get graphic here to show, that we must take the time to see Jesus in the suffering because many do forget...all of us do really...we must not forget.
You son smiles and amazingly, when mine was passing, he did as well. That is the comforting part. Curious, as difficult as this may be, there is much love and pondering to be gleaned from the connections like these that have come to me and I hope I have given to others by this blogging. As long as something good come from it...it is worthwhile. This is a very pro-life painting too, in this day and age of thoughtless legalized abortion.
You said I could use your painting ...I promise I will...people will most certainly be touched by this. Your son and my son's life and or suffering were not lived in vain. Thank you and God be with you and your entire family during this most holy season! Suzanne
from SincerelyMyThoughts

ukok said...

Thankyou so much for sharing this with us, it touches me greatly that you have done so. God Bless you and keep you.

Coco said...

It is BEAUTIFUL! Your love for your child, and for God is reflected in the painting. Your prayer to our heavenly Father.

As I said previously...
painting is also a form of prayer.
When one paints, one thinks and prays for the person for whom the painting is for...
The last painting I did was when my father passed away. I painted a portrait of his bible, his wedding band, his guitar pik, his rosary, his reading glasses, his wrist watch that I had bought him with my first paycheck as a teacher...and a lit candle representing God (on a black canvas).
All my love poured into it... All my prayers to God were there... Once the painting was complete, I gave it to my mother...there was no need to explain the painting- for all that my father was was reflected in the painting.

Again, thank you for sharing what you hold so deep in your heart- God's love.

Have a wonderful weekend.

May the New Year bring blessings.

Lynn Donovan said...

CS,

Got the picture. Thank you so much. I will probably use it in a post as well as in my Women's Bible Study this spring. Wonderful!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Praying for an '07 filled with the experience of HIM....Thanks for all you share and how you inspire us to seek Him above all....thanks friend....becky

Paula said...

Awesmome, it left me speechless. Wishing you and yours a very blessed and bappy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Will, you truly portray your love as a father and a child of Christ in your writing and painting. Thanks so much for permission to use the picture...it's a very beautiful painting indeed!

I hope you will have a very Happy New Year and that your family will be blanketed with His many blessings, love and peace throughout 2007!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Will...
May God continue to bless you richly...

Donna

squirrel said...

Beautiful painting and once again a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfealt stories with us this past year. Happy New Year and God bless!!!

Rosemary Bogdan said...

What a very inspiring post. Thank you for sharing this with us. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Curious servant ~~ Great painting.
Thanks for your New Year wishes and I hope that you also have a great 2007
with health and happiness. Cheers, Merle.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm at a loss for words, so I'm just trying to absorbe the sensations your post had generated in me. Thank you. It's wonderful that you had the opportunity to do that. Your pastor must be a true gift. Happy New Year to you and your family.

bornfool said...

Just stopped by to wish you a Happy New Year, CS. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you in the coming year.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see you paint in a worship service. What a wonderful gift God has given you

Lucy Stern said...

I think it would be hard to paint a picture of our Savior...But you did a really nice job....I hope you and your family have a very Happy New Year...

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that you've blessed me so much I'm adding you to my (short!) list of blogs worth reading, and recommending you in my blog. Thanks, brother, for your service to God.

Jim said...

The Crown of Thorns are the most striking to me. I'm having trouble seeing other parts of Christ's life except for the Infant.

You are right, it is hard to paint it all in one being.
..

curious servant said...

Jim:

I hadn't thought too much about the thorns, but your point is well made.

I wonder if they are too strong?

I would like people to focus more on the eyes and smile...

Perhaps I should go back over the crown with a little gold overlay... make it a little like a crown of gold...

Thoughts anyone?

Anonymous said...

wishing you all the best this new year, CS. may you be blessed more this 2007. =)

jel said...

Hey CS,

Going over the crown with a little gold overlay, would a good thing to do ! The more I look at the baby, the mor e the crown stands out. it would interesting too see! that my thought anyway! :)

Jim said...

Well CS, I'm not an artist or even artistic. I appreciate what you want to do.
Maybe changes shouldn't be done. A lot of Christmas pageants end up with the agony of His crucifixion and then triumph over the grave for us.
That is the main message I see here after knowing there first is a Baby Jesus born as a man.
As it is I think I think conveys the message very well. The crown is important and wouldn't be noticeable enought painted gold?
..

curious servant said...

Jim... I think there is a good point to be made here. i want the most prominant feature to be the eyes and mouth... love and joy triumphant over evil.

I have given this some thought and I can just subtlytone down the thorns with some swirling gold highlights and even hint that there is a suggestion of the crown being a golden crown/halo...

I think I might try and and I'll post the changes.

Terry said...

Dear Curious Servant..I want to thank you for leaving such kind comments on my blog site. It was so nice of you!
Yes, I have been going slowly through your site and reading it and commenting some.
I told my friend Susan, of "Susan's Blog" that I want to download both hers' and your site and put them on an external drive so that I can take them to work and read them on my lap top. I would have more time to study them as there is so much!
Where I work, I have no access to the internet and I have lots of free time.
I tried to write to you, using the email address on you blog site but the letters kept coming back. Would you please write to me so that I can get your right address? My address is on my blog site but I don't mind giving it to you and Brenda right here...Bernie's and my address is shirkie@iaw.com I have a question to ask you....God's blessings on you and your family and I close now with Chritian love...Terry

eija said...

The way you use your artistic talents during the service truly fascinates me. No, the pen or the brush aren't for me, but they seem to be for my daughter. When she's a bit older (now ten years) I might tell her about you!

Thank you. The painting is... striking! Treat it with respect - like a gift from God.

Live, Love, Laugh said...

wow, this was awesome, very humble and thought provoking, thank you for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

And what of the mouse frightening me? :-)

Happy New Year my friend.

And I like the painting. I liked it before. The first thing I focused on was the smile, eyes, loving expression. But then I told you that when I first saw the rough draft.

I guess it comes down to how badly you want people to "get it" as to how much you alter it.

Regardless, it's great.

Justin

curious servant said...

Thanks my friends!

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant,
for the third time I'm trying to get through with my comment. There have been some troubles between Blogger/Google and myself.

I've been looking up your infinite Messiah almost every day. It really got to me, even though I don't know I got it.

The crown of thorns has become thicker and this frightening, sharp needles pinned into the baby's head.
My primary wish is to remove this monsterous torture.
It also seems to me that the smile is fading and the features (the fingers amongst others)are getting more vague.
To me it has become an immense reminder of why the living, feeling Son of God came to earth.
The sweet icing on the pastoral scene of the stable in Bethlehem is gone.
While most painters emphesize the beauty of God's gift to mankind, you have shown me some of the sacrifise and painthe infinte Messiah grought.
And it's almost too much..