Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Greatest Artist
The image of God. Michelangelo captured this idea hundreds of years ago while painting the magnificent Sistine Chapel. The image of God would forever be an image to always picture in our minds.
I've been thinking a lot lately of what the image of God stamped on every person means. How it matters. How it changes the way I view the people He created and how it changes the way I should view myself.
So I found myself in a bit of a time capsule today as I attended a lifelong learning class at the college I attended my freshman year. Fresh out of high school, we were required to take three foundational classes. The one I remember best was called "Human Expression," and all first year students dreaded it. We gathered in a dark room viewing numerous slides of great artists and listening to various composers and reading a variety of literature. I only remember the art. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I had already been exposed to great literature and classical composers. But art--this was perhaps the first time I had really learned the difference between a Rembrandt and a Renoir. I was captured.
Fast forward almost twenty years, and today I found myself in a similar, but different place. Back in my old college classroom, in an art class on Michelangelo, but surrounded by mostly gray-haired folks with noticeably northern accents and a love for learning. (Even one good-humored gentleman who had a love for limericks. Funny fellow.) Once again viewing art, but not because we were required to study, but rather that we chose to learn. Okay, to be completely truthful, my father dragged me along...not kicking and screaming, but because he thought I would enjoy it. And I did. I also would have enjoyed sleeping in today, but I knew this would be good for my mind. Good for my soul. And good for my heart.
It took me back to a time when I was 18 year old freshman and struggling to find my place in this world. Struggling to find meaning and direction. Searching for my purpose and passion. But with the perspective of a teenager, I lacked, well, perspective.
Not that I have arrived in my 30's, but as I walked the halls of my alma mater today, I realized that I see the world quite a bit different than I did when I was younger, thankfully. And I see people differently. I see them with a passion to know their hearts, hear their stories, and ask questions with them. Not just give them answers (although I hope to have a clearer understanding of truth these day), but I have plenty of more questions. And more importantly a heart to hear, and to understand, and to engage. Those were turbulent days for me, but God had a new setting, new characters, and a different plot in days ahead. Now, I have the perspective of being married and being a mom and learning what truly matters. My eyes are opening to the creativity of God around me in His creation. His image in His people. His glory in His good plan.
Perhaps God is again reminding me of how being image bearers means that all people are created precious and important. And how God is most valuable and the greatest artist of all. And now I finally believe that.