Hello – and welcome to all my new readers.
Looking forward to sharing the journey together
On a recent mini-break to Brighton, my husband and I decided to spend some time looking around one of the local National Trust properties, Petworth House, near the South Downs. The house is famed for its quite staggering collection of paintings, including many by Turner. However, as is the case so often these days, the lighting within the House had to be controlled so as not to damage the artwork. This sometimes made the pictures appear quite dark, and possibly in need of some serious cleaning or restoration.
Now my husband will confess, he likes visiting stately homes, but mainly for the clocks and the furniture. Art is not really his thing at all. However, in the first room we came to, we found two wonderful features; an enthusiastic room guide, and an LED torch. The torch was the property of the room guide, who used it skilfully to point out fine details of his favourite pieces. We could not believe how a painting suddenly came to life when an LED torch (allowed under the strict lighting regulations) was used to pinpoint astonishing detail. My art-ambivalent husband was hooked – as was I! We were quite sad to leave that room, having learned so much more than we thought we would. In a classic “By the way…” moment, the room guide told us that each room guide also had an LED torch. That was it! As we entered each room, we made straight for the guide to ask if he or she could show us some of the paintings with the torch. It did not take too long for each successive room guide to loan us their torch and leave us to explore. We were obviously enthusiastically enjoying discovering what others were not prepared to see.
Several paintings were particularly wonderful – a full length portrait of a woman in a long black dress stood out, for the exquisite embroidery and lacework of the dress fabric could never have been spotted with the naked eye. Likewise one painting of a woman of high birth reclining on a chaise lounge was made even more interesting when the torch outlined her most exquisite tiara – impossible to see without the torch.
In Psalm 139 we read:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
It is as if the Psalmist is expecting the torch of God to reveal something dark and sinister, condemning and derogatory. However, Eugene Petersen renders it quite differently in The Message:
“23 Investigate my life, O God; find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;
24 See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong —
then guide me on the road to eternal life. “
I think that more often than not, God loves to shine a light on us, not because He cannot see clearly, or wants to condemn us, but rather He wants us to see what He has accomplished in us.
He delights in you.
You are precious, and you need to be shown so.
Do not be afraid of God’s torch; He rejoices over each right attitude, good thought and noble intention as if you were a precious work of art.
Lozenge moment – something to linger and savour….
Are you scared of what God sees in you?
What if He simply wanted you to know how proud He is of you today?
How would that change your attitude and outlook?