Painting at Lake Forest Church | “Believe”

One of my favorite pieces of imagery is from the movie “Gladiator”…when Maximus walks through the wheat field and runs his hand lightly across the top of the soft tassels.  It’s one of those visuals that continues to stick with me over time…so simple, but so rich with emotion.  It’s as though I can feel everything he was feeling.

When I was tasked with painting an interpretation of John 6 for Lake Forest’s “re:Gift” series, and read the entire text, these two passages really jumped out at me:

35-36 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
47-48 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.

It seems Jesus was trying to drive an important point home: “I’m the bread of life. Believe it.”  And as I let the passage fill my head and heart, the images from The Gladiator sprang to life in a new way…except there were wounds on the wrists of this Loving Warrior, and he touched the wheat with a familiarity only found between created and Creator.

The Bread of Life walking through a wheat field…what a breathtaking metaphor.

How odd that we have no problem believing the common wheat would one day be crushed to become a delicious loaf of bread. But we struggle to truly believe that this unimpressive hometown man would one day be crushed in order to satisfy the hunger of the whole world.  Such a mystery.  Such a leap of faith.

Bread of Life

Believe that I Am the Bread of Life.

So follow the metaphor, if you will, as it develops into The Bread of Life…breaking bread…in the wheat field. I guess you could call it Reversed Foreshadowing, if such a thing exists. 😛 But consider the beauty of the progression…the wheat is cut off and ground up, having it’s form destroyed…but by doing so is transformed into bread, able to feed the thousands.  Then that bread is broken apart by the hands of The Bread of Life…feeding all of mankind, so that they will never go hungry again.

Jesus was cut off from this world, beaten, crucified, buried…and resurrected.  In an ironic act of selfless love–by emptying himself…being broken…and dying–He was able to become the Victor, conquer death, and give us all eternal life.  Such a mystery.  Such a leap of faith.

Broken For You

Believe that this is My body Broken for You.

Are you hungry? Believe that He is The Bread of Life.  Are you thirsty? Believe that His body was Broken for You.  And if you believe, you will never hunger or thirst again. Such a mystery. Such a leap of faith.

But even as He speaks the simple truth, His words are so full of emotion, it’s as though He can feel everything that I’m feeling.

As Lake Forest’s series teachings illustrated, Jesus was the perfect example of re-gifting. So what are you doing with the gift that He has given you? How will you re-gift it so that the people around you will benefit from it?

Such a mystery. Such a leap of faith.

Luttrell Commission | “Passages” (Rhythms of Grace)

There are defining moments in our lives.  Moments where we mark the passage of time.  Already with our 3 1/2-year-old, we’ve experienced several landmarks in what we hope will be a lifetime filled with them.  And already, we are wanting to pull up on the reins a bit to slow time’s passing.  Already, it’s barreling down the road at an unbridled pace.

But that’s the burden of parenting, isn’t it?  Wanting so badly for them to become independent and experience all the good that life has for them, and yet wanting it to take 100 years to happen.  Yep, that’d be just about right.

This week I was honored to participate in a defining moment for one of my husband’s drum students.  His parent’s are being extraordinarily intentional about making a wonderfully big deal out of this year’s birthday for him.  They are celebrating his rite of passage into manhood with a week of thoughtful presents and festivities, all befitting a young man.

My commission was to create a visual for his bedroom that would reflect his love for music, rhythm, and his faith.  I used one of my drummer husband’s life scriptures for the cornerstone of the piece, which comes from Matthew 11:28-30:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Now that’s a rite of passage worth making…for all of us!

Rhythms of Grace

Robles Commission

This is a series of pieces I painted for my friends Rich & Jenny Robles.  Each canvas represents a principle they value and hope to foster in their family.

©2012 Melody Hogan.  All rights reserved.