Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.



As I stand in the middle of a wide field, the morning sun glints off the frosted blades of grass as if the turf is strewn with diamonds. Is this what I am to notice today?

I try to catch the sparkles in a photo. But they are elusive sprites, cleverly hiding when I raise my phone. Hunched over like a dog following a scent, I wander, searching the ground, stooping to see if a new angle would catch the sprites unaware.

That’s when I find leaves, dusted with rime. Now I’m the one who’s caught. I’m delighting in the negative space, in the depth of field, in the texture. Three simple elements are my playthings: frost, vegetation and light. They are more than enough to engage my creativity.

There is a saying that has come up frequently in the corporate sessions I visually record: People own what they help to build. It explains the value of co-creation for a business. As I stand in the cold, framing up frozen leaves, I am struck by how God invites us to help build with him.

When God declared his creation “very good,” in one way his work was finished. Yet he fashioned a world of infinite and unfolding variety -- one that is, if not unfinished, is constantly spinning new combinations. And it invites artists (of all types) to step in and get involved. We select. We frame. We describe. We cup in our hands the elusive, sparkling sprites and call others over to peek in.

I love the moment when something simple grabs my attention and I realize with a surge of pleasure that it is far from ordinary. As I leave the field, I find a small patch of broken ice, framed by leaves, one band of which is lit by the sun. Rich with varied texture, it is remarkable.

But then, we are collaborating with a remarkable God.

How I praise you, Creator! This world, broken as it is, still spins combinations of such beauty. It all points to you. What kindness you show us to invite us into the process of creating. What an honor it is to capture some of that beauty in imitation of you! May you receive glory for the work of our hands and hearts.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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