A few years back I had the privilege of standing before Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ at the Getty Center. It is the one painting there that I will surely see any time I visit. Yet this last time that I saw it, it brought me to tears. Here is this painting, by a tormented soul of a man, now considered a genius years after his death. His paintings are priceless. How is it that paint on a canvas can bring someone to tears or evoke awe? Seeing the paint strokes, the colors, the composition and all the elements comprising the work provide a medium for communication that carries one over to a higher place. I consider Van Gogh a genius because his work still touches people. So much of his life is tied up in his paintings, it was the one thing he had to do, his passion.
The Pauline letter written to the church in Ephesus echoes the passion God has for us. The letter states:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph2.10.NIV (italics mine)
The NASB speaks of ‘workmanship’ and many other translation state, ‘God makes us what we are…’ We are His works of creation, His passion. The Greek word for handiwork is poema. A work of art invested with the very life of God, we have His fingerprints all over us, so to speak. The passion of God, while exemplified in the cross of Christ, is not limited to the cross but encompasses the totality of creation that was and will be redeemed. We are part of that beautifully crafted work and we have the privilege of participating in that work.
I firmly believe every brother or sister in Christ has a work that is potentially a profound work of staggering genius. It is their passion. One aspect of the unrelenting and wild passion of God they can reflect. We all need to find that in ourselves and recognize it others and encourage one another to fulfill that passion. Whether it is painting, poetry, woodworking, teaching, serving the poor, challenging government or whatever that passion might be, pursue it. In addition, do not think about it. Do it.
Grace and peace,