At first glance this looks like a reasonable attempt to sketch a group of people. Perhaps it wouldn’t merit a place in a portrait gallery but then again I’d be quite happy to be able to produce something like it. Neither an artist nor a connoisseur in the art world, I’m hardly in a position to give an opinion worth listening too. However, what did make me linger over the drawing was the fact that on close examination it becomes clear the artist never lifted his or her pen from the page. Training the eye on the furthest and lowest point of the line on either end it is actually possible to follow that line to the bottom corner on the opposite side. I find that quite astounding. The pen wielder never lost sight of where the line was going to end up. Not even in the middle where there are complex overlapping and interlocking relationships did our artist lose sight of the end result. The tip never leaves the surface of the page.
Drawings like this help me when I get confused by events around me. Not even the Bible seems to be of much help since there are things in it that I can’t seem to fit together. Let me explain myself.
To really get to grips with the Bible the best place to begin is possibly the very end! It’s simply crucial to see what is the climax of this big story of God. John sums it up in one verse when he envisages the day when ‘the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ (Revelation 11:15) He expands on that with an awe-inspiring vision of a new heaven and a new earth where God would actually live with people. (Rev.21:3)
Would you believe that was the Creator’s intention from the first verse of Genesis. Centuries ago, Jewish scholars observed that the very first letter in the Hebrew Bible was the first letter of the Hebrew word for ‘house/home’. They deducted God’s intention was to be with people right from the outset. Should we be surprised that’s the very note on which the New Testament ends?
It’s as if the master planner puts his pen down on the first verse of Genesis and never lifts it again until the last verse of Revelation. Following that line is going to take us through Mesopotamia, Canaan, Egypt, Babylon, Athens, Rome and all over the world before ending up in the New Jerusalem. Sticking to it we go through wilderness, flood, fire, bloody battles, crucifixion and through resurrection to end up in the throne room of God. The line can hover over holy places and press on through adulterous and even murderous encounters. At times the line seems to double back, take wide detours or even apparently disappear. Does it wobble here and there? It will take us to heights we don’t want to leave and to despicable depths which we can’t get out of fast enough. Whether thick or thin, high or low, visible or invisible, ragged or smooth that line is always there. The King of all the earth knows precisely where he is going and that pen is in safe, all-knowing and all-powerful hands.
I’m sure you’ve taken a child’s hand in your hand to guide them as they write a word or draw a figure. Through our present emergency situation, it’s such a relief to put our hand into the right hand that never leaves the page nor lets go of us. (Psalm 139:10)