8:18

Conflict resolved

Conflict resolved

Call it a tapestry of contention.  I call it done.

This epic drawing has been a work in progress.  I started it last January in an attempt to create something unplanned.  I just put a pencil to the middle of the large sheet of paper (4 ft X 7 ft) and started drawing.  My only guiding idea was a bit of wordplay: Faerie vs. Fearie.  As I began to draw, I didn’t even know what a fearie would look like.

When the pencil sketch was done in late April, I began to ink it.

I had no idea, when I started this illustrated dispute, that it would be such a reflection of our troubled time.  I’m glad that early on, I decided to keep a balance between the two species, to keep the aggressors ambiguous.  (Though I will admit a personal preference for the Fearies, since they are so fun to draw and don’t have those blasted butterfly wings to research!)

For we humans are, indeed, contentious.  Armed with our self-justifying facts, we excel at creating rifts.  Even those who claim to promote unity often demonize anyone whose belief system points to an overarching spiritual authority.

It’s painful to watch all this polarization.  It’s even more painful to find this same fractious nature in myself.

Isaiah spoke to this human tendency in his Song of the Servant:

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.  (Isaiah 53:6)

The word laid is interesting.  In Hebrew, it literally means caused to meet.  Think of an intersection of many roads, and in the middle of that intersection is the Servant, taking on the crushing burden of the sins of the people.  Paul identifies Jesus as that Servant, saying that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).

Human societies are flying apart, disintegrating into smaller and smaller bytes of opinion.  But God is working to draw all things together to himself through his Son.

It feels so good to have this drawing done.  I’ve never attempted anything to this scale or complexity.  Not surprisingly, people are asking me what will come next.  I don’t know, to be honest.  I’m unsure of even what I’m going to do with this enormous panorama.  (Though I did draw a likely scenario as the last faery flies away with a scroll.  Presumably to my hall closet.)

But if I do another, I want it somehow to convey the idea of things coming together into one central place.  And here in 8:18, I think I’ll follow up this long Isaiah study with passages that speak about the uniqueness of Christ.

Contemplating Jesus.  That’s an undertaking that, thankfully, can never be completed.

God, how we feel this process of breaking apart.  Our sin disintegrates us, individually and collectively.  But you are reconciling the world, drawing everything together in Jesus.  Your amazing plan fills us with awe, praise and thanksgiving.

Reader: If you’d like to see a large jpg of the image, I’m happy to send you one.  Just let me know.

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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.