Wednesday, 04 April 2012
I was reading Gary Molander’s book, Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.: Exploring Life at the Intersection of Faith and Creativity, and came across the following gem. Truly, there were several gems, but this one was a timely message for my soul, and I think it may be for you as well.
In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a series of parables to his followers. The parables are all about a man (God) who is interacting with soil (mankind). These characters are consistent throughout the parables.
Verse 3 is the parable of the good soil. Francis Chan made the statement in his book, Crazy Love, never assume you’re the good soil. Ouch and thank you, Francis.
Verse 24 is the parable of the weeds. The farmer is God again, and there is an enemy who plants weeds in the soil, which is mankind again.
Verse 31 is the parable of the mustard seed. It’s about what happens when a man who plants (God) and the growth that occurs (our response to the Gospel).
Each parable is consistent, which is why I was shocked that I had never connected the dots that Gary connects.
Verse 44 is the parable of the treasure in the field. I’ve always thought of this parable with the characters inverted. We are the man, and God is the field, or soil. This goes against the pattern set in each preceding parable. It makes sense that we would go sell everything to have the kingdom of God, so I never thought twice. But look what happens when the characters are consistent with the other parables.
The man (God) found a treasure in a field (mankind) and went away and gave everything he had to possess the land (mankind). This is no longer about our efforts to secure the kingdom of Heaven, it’s about God’s efforts to secure us. And God has done so with great joy.
God is in active pursuit. He’s paid the price. He desires our hearts.
For anyone, but especialy the artist who brings to life complex and abstract concepts of the heart, this is a game changer.
I read this passage, and then read it again, and then read it a third time. When it had begun to sink in, I had one of those defining moments of the faith. A rejuvination and joy in my heart that is difficult to describe. I haven’t felt that way from a book since Brennan Manning’s, The Ragamuffin Gospel, which is one of my favorite books.
This message came at the perfect timing in this season of Lent, as we feel the sacrafice God made for us by sending his son to die in our place so that we may be called righteous.
Thank you, Gary. Thank you for being the artist’s pastor. We need your voice in the conversation about faith and creativity. You are a great blessing.
This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.