On Sunsets & Living Poems
Last month we visited family in warm, sunny Florida. It was splendid. Seeing family we’d not seen for a while. And really, what other word adequately describes soft sand spilling between your toes, while being warmed by the sun’s rays.
Splendid? Yes, in every way.
At the end of one of our beach outings, we began packing up to leave. My husband and daughter walked ahead to our car. My son and I followed, balancing beach paraphernalia. Between dropping the sand bucket and occasional flip-flop, we noticed people gathering just off the wooden plank entrance to the beach. By the time we made it to the walkway, close to a hundred people had gathered. Walking in the opposite direction of us, some were just making it to the sand, portable chairs and chilled wine in tow, teetering clinking glasses in hand.
We reached the wooden planks and stopped, turning just in time to see the spectacle for which the crowd was gathering.
Sky painted coral with the glow of the sun’s parting rays. The crowd watched in near silence, speaking in occasional hushed tones. It was beautiful. Breathtaking. A living painting brushed across a never-ending canvas, reflected in the clear blue waters beneath.
The colors changed slightly – coral to pink, pink to blush, blush to peach. The fiery orb descended slowly, until it appeared submerged beneath the waters.
The moment it disappeared, the crowd erupted into applause. Then, for an instant, the orb bobbed up again, offering just a hint of it’s spherical radiance, as if in response to the crowds’ cheers. Grazie. Grazie. Thank you. An encore to satisfy those wanting more? One final bow before quickly descending beneath the deep blue surface on the horizon so far away.
People gathered on that beach for the sole purpose of witnessing the setting of the sun. A masterpiece in the making. Unique each night. Not wanting to miss a second of the stunning artistry. And the applause…a fitting response to such a worthy sight of beauty. Accolades for the Artist…
Like a five year old after watching a magic trick, I wanted to shout, “Do it again! Do it again!” Given the crowds’ excitement, I’m pretty sure my voice wouldn’t have been the only one.
Everyday, that same Artist creates masterpieces. As I descended the wooden plank walkway, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them I’ve missed. In my busyness? How many times have I allowed beauty to be overshadowed by things over which I have no control?
Everyday, the Artist who brings the sun and paints the sky each night, performs beauty in and around us.
How often do I really LOOK?
And how much more joy would I have, if I remembered we are His masterpieces, you and I, living works of art, being made each day?
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
In her book, A Million Little Ways, Emily P. Freeman points out that the original Greek word translated into ‘masterpiece’ is poíēma. It is the same word from which we get our present day word – poem.
We – you and I – are living, breathing poems. Living masterpieces being scribed across the moments of everyday life.
Made in the image of God, we participate in the very act of creation. As living “poems” we share in the creation experience each day.
“Artists draw people to Christ…by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it. If our lives are truly hid with Christ in God, the astounding thing is that this hiddenness is revealed in all we do and say and write.”
– Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
How often do we stand back in wonder and gratitude at the living art of our God?
When we look upon the elderly man moving a bit slower than we’d like, the harried mother with screaming toddler in tow, or the young man with a disability, what do we see?
What do we see when we look at ourselves?
This spring, may I LOOK with fresh eyes upon each of His works, with wonder and grace, recognizing the art being made right in front of me.
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson