A few months ago, a dear friend of mine was raising money for a mission trip over the summer.  I had the wonderful opportunity to paint a piece for an art auction hosted by the BSM raising money for her trip. I was so blessed to be a part of it. (PS---I now see the irony of the word FREE on the canvas considering that it was at an auction.)

There's nothing really recycled about this piece. It was a previously used canvas from a very old FLiC meeting, and one of the paints was a sample paint from a living room redesign.  I was going to use some old guitar strings on it somewhere, but it didn't work out.

Something that I really wish you could see in this photo is the metallic wash detailing on different parts of the painting. When you walked around it, different parts of the painting shone bright gold. It was an interesting effect in person.

Some elements of the painting were borrowed from Scott Erikson, the painter in residence at Ecclesia.  I'm a really big fan of the work he does. He is such an awesome example of an artist relating God's truth through the medium of art. I wanted to try something similar because it's a style that I've never attempted.

I think it's always interesting how paintings change as you work on them. You have an idea of what the painting should be, but as you move around and add new elements, something quite different takes shape. In this painting, the lines around the dove were unexpected, and there was supposed to be a person receiving the freedom. But this is just how it turned out. There are a few things that probably could have been better, but since I was experimenting with a new style and finished it quickly, I'm ok with it.

Part of the reason why I wanted to paint this was because of how important its meaning is to me and others in my life.  I feel like people tend to naturally fall on one end or another on how God relates to us. We might see Him as mostly loving and full of grace---He does not worry so much about our actions as He does our hearts, and even when we mess up, He forgives us.  Or we might see Him more as holy and righteous---He desires that His children be like Him and take on the image of His Son. He calls us to something better than the life of this world. He calls us to holiness and refinement.

There's truth to both of these understandings of God, but they're both wrong if they exclude the other viewpoint.  God is who He is and not who we make Him out to be. Reconciling His perfect justice and mercy has been the stumbling block of so many, though it is so clearly defined in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.  When Christ hung on the cross, He took the punishment that needed to be paid for our rebellion against God.  God's justice was satisfied by His own loving sacrifice.

Understanding that in the context of the gospel is easy as long as it remains conceptual, but once I try to put it into practice and live in that reality, I struggle. I naturally tend towards a view in which I see God's daily love and acceptance (rather than salvation) as based on my service and ability to bear any burden.  The wonderful truth though is that God has called us to the righteousness and perfection of His Son, but it is His work to accomplish, not ours. That work can only be done by the Spirit. Knowing that the Spirit is at work within us makes the burden light. We are to follow Jesus in obedience and know that the Spirit will give us the power to press forward. When we fail, there is conviction followed by grace and forgiveness.He is the author and perfecter of our faith, though. The burden of responsibility lies on Him. We need only to trust and obey.

Craving: Kale Chips...nom
#9 On My List of Books to Read Before I Die: Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

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