But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
– Ephesians 2: 4-10 (ESV)
This is in no way a response to or rebuttal of anything said in this post. But all this talk of art and creation and creativity got me thinking.
Do you want to know what the most wonderful work of art is, to me? Now there are many great works of art that I love. Beethoven’s adagio is poignant and sweet, and it makes me bow sometimes. The writings of J.R.R. Tolkien lift me up to the heights. I’m absolutely amazed by great sculptures, beautiful paintings, and expert photography. I sometimes lose my breath when listening to an amazing musician or band (Nickle Creek anyone?).
But there is absolutely nothing that compares, for me, to the workmanship of a life redeemed and changed completely by the Lord. I absolutely love being around people who aren’t afraid to shine. The joy of the redeemed is like sweet wine. The devotion and worship that comes from a pure heart is beautiful. Compassion expressed in action to heal the hurts of others leaves me in awe. The wise interpretation and application of Scriptural truths from an unpretentious soul encourages me no end. The sweet humility of seeing one take the lower seat, unnoticed, humbles me. Mercy in action fills me with hope. Steadfast faith in the midst of tragedy or a dark night of the soul makes me want to stand alongside the faithful one in battle. And, always, I find myself praising Jesus when in the presence of those living the life.
There’s nothing like God’s workmanship: the beautiful work of art that is the redeemed human soul.
[Note: I dual-blogged this on Thinklings]
I know exactly what you mean, it is just such a joy and encouragement to be around these people. Oh that I may some day eminate the same kind of light.