This past winter, my family and I paid a visit to the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I am always fascinated by the variety of art we see in the galleries and how varied the subjects and the mediums the art is composed of can be. On this particular visit we saw modern art which blended painting with video; there was an exhibit of clothing which were wearable works of art; there were sculptures and carvings made of stone and clay; and there were classic painted works spanning hundreds of years.
On this visit I was struck by how each piece of art represented a thought or an idea, and in some cases, was made to reflect the image or likeness of a person. Each piece was representative of something beyond its simple visual appearance. Art is not only intended to be pleasing to look at, it is also meant to encourage us to look and think beyond what we first see.
But I think the artwork that fascinates me the most are the sculptures and paintings of people from a time before we had such things as photographs and videos, especially self-portraits. I always wonder if these are true likenesses of the people. And in the case of a self-portrait, I wonder if they were trying to give a true representation or whether it was an artistic representation of how they saw themselves, or maybe how they wished they were. And so, I ask the question: Is that a true reflection, a true image, of that person?
In Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV) we read, “Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
To be created in the image of God goes to the very heart of who we are intended to be. We were made to be a reflection of our Creator – holy and righteous. But sin twisted what God had intended and that image was no longer being reflected.
Yet, through Jesus Christ, restoration by his death and resurrection has been made possible, and once again, there is a renewed call to reflect the image of our Creator.
I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV), “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
And so, I have to ask the question, “am I a true reflection of my Creator or do people look at me and wonder if I am reflecting another image?”
In my life and ministry, it is my prayer that the Lord would fill me with the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a way that anything that needs to change would be changed so that I can be the truest reflection of my Creator I can possibly be.
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 59 No 3