Fellowship in Christ is a beautiful, beautiful thing and I just continue to be reminded of that over and over. Sometimes its through being reunited with that dear friend that God has blessed you with and sharing with each other all that the Lord has done, whether over a cup of tea/coffee, typing through Skype, or in the midst of a tear filled conversation ended with prayer...Sometimes its through the sweat, tears, and evidence of the importance of the body in a silly game called basketball...And sometimes its seen as two are united in and through Him as they enter in to a life of sanctification and refinement together. There's a "profound mystery" in all of these as God shows His face in a variety of different ways. Often its difficult to understand His purpose and plan. Often it is so clear it feels like He's right there causing certain things to occur. With either situation, I seem to hear God say, "Kristin trust me. Trust my plans and let go of your worries for your family, friends, and future. Give them to me and allow me to fill you with peace as you walk with me."
I made this painting for Mark and Liza De Younge who just got married October 22. These were their wedding passages:
Ephesians 5:1 & 21-33
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God...
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
I love how this picture of a husband and wife is to be an image of Christ with the church! I love how over and over in the Bible God uses different tangible, visible things to show His truth to us. I love how God is so creative in the different ways He seeks to draw us to Him.
Even the Old Testament, which I often skip over or lack the understanding to fully comprehend what God was trying to make evident, shares the importance of fellowship in Him. Leviticus 3 talks about the details of a fellowship/peace/wellness offering (translated as any of the three). My study bible states this about these passages: "Two basic ideas are included in this offering: peace and fellowship. The traditional translation is "peace offering," a name that comes from the Hebrew word for the offering, which in turn is related to the Hebrew word shalom, meaning "peace" or "wholeness." Thus the offering perhaps symbolized peace between God and his people as well as the inward peace that resulted. The fellowship offering was the only sacrifice of which the offerer might eat a part. Fellowship was involved because the offerer, on the basis of the sacrifice, had fellowship with God and with the priest, who also ate part of the offering." This sacrifice was given not to atone for sin but in thanks to God.
When I start to create these collage/paintings I often do a lot of cross referencing. After I made the base coat but before I the major of my cross referencing, I went with my roommate Morgan :-) to her hometown of Sully, IA. There we explored an old, vacant house with one of Morgan's friends, Jaden. We saw a beautiful curtain hanging in the window and I said, "I want to use that for my painting!" Jaden preceded to karate chop the window out (the house was on his families' property) and rip down the curtain for me.
I then cross referenced to these verses:
"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Jesus Christ has crashed through anything that separates us from the Most Holy Place! We no longer give sacrifices of animals because Christ has sacrificed Himself for us. He desires us to "draw near to God with a sincere heart." He gives us one another that "we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." So we continue in fellowship together with Christ as our sacrifice. He gives us our family, He gives us our friends, He gives us all those around us in His perfectly planned timing. This can also go the other way though too. God works through you to be that person that spurs those around you to Him. So maybe your married, maybe your dating, maybe your single...Maybe your a best friend, an acquaintance, a teacher, a coach, a teammate, a roommate, on and on...All relationships are a part of God's plan. He desires you. He has opened the curtain. He loves you.
The curtain is the center, ivory fabric on the painting. I pray this painting spurs you on towards Jesus Christ the head of us, the church. Love you all!