Nature embodied

Now this is a challenge I can admire.

Called 6 X 6 X 30, a participating artist is expected to create something that fit within a six-inch square for thirty days in a row. I had seen a few of the small paintings made in previous years, but Zeke, the woodworker and sculptor who lives across the street from one of my sons, is attempting to do this three-dimensionally.

Not only that, he had added his own layer to the requirements: each one would be fashioned by a different process – assembled stone, welded metal, carved wood, and on and on. To be done in one day. Including the gorgeous frames.

I know he’s also made a deep impression on me.

His inspiration is nature, an appropriate source of ideas for an artist who knows and loves his Creator. The representations are varied – sea life, butterflies, oak leaves, bird nests and metal feathers. Some are quite delicate. Some are so heavy, it’s hard to imagine how they’ll hang on a wall.

Many of the pieces are quite playful. He tells me his creative drive was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could…”

And they’re surprising representations. We’re used to seeing the glory nature captured in a colorful photo. These reductions are not what we expect.

This morning, the writer of Hebrews reminded me that Jesus is “the exact representation” (in Greek, charakter) or “imprint” of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3). The word describes the impression left behind by a stamp.  Thinking about Zeke's representations of nature, I am newly astounded at what this verse says.

The infinite greatness of God – all of his omni superlatives – is somehow reflected in the person of Jesus. Or to put it into today’s metaphor: they are assembled into the small frame of the Son of Man. His actions, his words, his passions, his prayers: everything inside that frame gives us a true picture of the Father. There’s nothing lost in translation.

Amazing. And I thought putting nature in a box was hard.

Jesus Christ is life’s perfection,
Perfect love and perfect light.
Son of God, the true reflection
Of the Father’s radiance bright.
All the treasures of God’s riches,
All the secrets of His wisdom
All in Christ are hid away,
Let his name be praised today!

                 Claire-Lise de Benoit

Lord Christ, you are wondrous! When we want to see the eternal, glorious God, we only need to look at you. You are the true imprint of your Father in heaven. Lord, make us, in turn, a true imprint of you.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it!

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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