Empty vessels

For today’s exercise in random association, I will attempt to connect logo design, classic black gospel music and a box full of jewels. Ready?

It’s another long drive in the dark after a “scribing” an event. The night is cold but the forecast snow is holding off until I get home. I’m listening to an interview with a logo designer who is surprised by the recent development of public passion over logos. (He designed Hillary Clinton’s symbol for the last presidential campaign. So he knows about controversy.)

He makes a comment that I stop to consider. A simple logo, he says, “is an empty vessel into which meaning is poured.” The simpler the shapes – an H with an arrow, in his case – the more perspectives can be poured into them.

We are all empty vessels. Over the course of our lives, we fill ourselves with meaning and purpose. This comes home to me a little later when I put on some music by Andraé Crouch, a gospel singer whose songs were my first taste of Christian music when I came to faith as a teen. They were like jewels I stashed away into my memory.

Though I haven’t heard them in over thirty years, the simple lyrics and melodies come easily to me as I sing along in the car:

     Where would I be if Jesus didn’t love me?

     Where would I be if he didn’t care?

     Where would I be if he hadn’t sacrificed his life?

     Oh, but I’m glad, so glad he did.

The remembered lyrics are so precious to me. How sweet the thought that Jesus has loved me for so long. I am surprised by the joy and tenderness that shine through this recollection. Even the moon above seems to have an exultant ring of praise.

Paul encourages us to fill our empty vessels with all kinds of jewels: what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent. (Phil. 4:8) It is good advice. For these are gems that never lose their luster or intensity.

Jesus, where would I be if you didn’t love me? I thank you for your presence in my life all these years, and for a glimpse of my simple beginnings with you. Fill me up with more of you. For you are the best expression of every one of those qualities. May every jewel I tuck away bring me back to you.

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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