Prompted to Praise

A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created….
Psalm 148:5 (NIV)

I have visited a number of art museum in my life, but one of my most memorable experiences was the first time I walked into the Impressionist room at the Chicago Art Institute and caught sight of George Seurat‘s iconic masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Jatte. I had seen the painting a many times in books but to see the giant 7′ x 10′ painting in real life was breathtaking. Countless little jots of colored paint combined in your minds eye to form a beautiful picture of people lounging in the park. I’ll never forget the short scene in the movie Ferris Beuller’s Day Off when Cameron gets lost in the painting. That scene captures a sense of the wonder you feel when you look at it.

Seeing a breathtaking work of art makes you wonder and marvel at the artist whose heart, mind, soul and discipline went into creating that tangible expression. I am reminded this morning that it is a parallel wonder that I feel when I see the blue skies and blue ocean, the majesty of Pikes Peak and the cliffs at Garden of the Gods, or a beautiful sunset over the golden tasseled, deep green rolling fields of Iowa on a summer evening.

One of the many sunset pictures I captured.
One of the many sunset pictures I captured.

A few weeks ago on our cruise, Wendy chuckled at me because I made sure that I was out on the deck every night at sunset. I must have taken a thousand pictures. God is an artist, I am fond of reminding people, and He paints a unique, priceless sunrise every morning and a sunset every night. I think that’s what is at the heart of Psalm 148. The artist’s work calls out to the observer stimulating and motivating a sudden outburst of praise. We feel it when we look around at God’s artistic creation, and we likewise feel it when we see the creation of a human artist made in the image of the Creator.

Today, even as I am sick of cold and snow, I can’t help but look out my office window at soft, white snowflakes falling in graceful flurries and marvel at our master artist and Creator God who has expressed Himself in countless works and ways.

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