May 2024

Expressions of Love

I walked around the tables observing the artistic expression of the ladies as they applied paint to paper. There were various degrees of skill, but all were equally engaged with hope and delight. The meeting room had a wall of windows overlooking the large stone patio and the lush valley with tree-topped hills beyond. We were mid-way through a ministry retreat in a mountain lodge, and this activity had been scheduled as a break from meetings and small group discussions. They chatted happily among themselves, a group of old and new friends intent upon sharing this time with God and with each other.

I had been asked to facilitate the painting exercise, so after giving some brief tips on watercolor techniques and the options available to them regarding paper, paint and brushes, I was offering advice and encouragement as seemed appropriate to each one. Mostly I was simply admiring their individual efforts and taking my own quiet delight in their enthusiasm. There is something rather wonderful in the surprise outcome of painting with watercolor. The art has a way of becoming its own expression.

Creativity is in the nature and heart of God. The making of us and our world is beyond our comprehension and yet there is a longing in our hearts to belong to the glory of beauty as beheld by its Creator. He made us. He also gave us dignity and purpose and the right to choose. Choosing Him, believing Him, accepting His offer of salvation and redemption, we are invited into an eternal relationship. We become a new creation. Formed in His image and for His glory, redeemed by the Cross of His beloved Son, we, too, are the expression of His love. What grace! What mystery! What joy!

Knowing Jesus is our life-long pursuit, and His desire is toward us.

When I first met my husband (having lived more than half a century already), we spent long hours in the discovery process. We plunged headlong into our desire to know one another. We talked, we asked questions, we shared memories, we laughed, and we cried. Nearly ten years later, we are still being knit together in the learning of each other.

Think of the unfathomable King Eternal and the mysteries He desires to share with us. Knowing Him can be our desire and an ever-deepening desire. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (ESV) Through His grace and the work of His Spirit, we can have eyes to see and hearts that know His expression of love in the world and the people around us. We get to see and appreciate His creativity, in ourselves and in the ones He joins with us. Communities of believers are His expression and creation, and it is in these communities that we begin to know Him as He is.

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” (Colossians 1:9-12 ESV)

Until next week, beloved, seek Him to know Him and be willing to be known.

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