My parents have a small oil painting that was always hard to get a clear vision of. It was rough, just giving impressions here and there of its subjects. When I asked about it they told me it was an artist proof, a sketch or draft of a painting. I liked the form and the colors, but I have never seen what the final painting looked like. Larry Pirnie, do you have record of it?
Today as I studied Hebrews 8 with some colleagues I was drawn to verse 5. Many versions say that the temple is a copy or shadow of heavenly things. But the TOB version in French uses the word "esquisse" which is a rough draft of a painting, a model of what the artist is envisioning. The tabernacle, and later the temple, was an artistic rendering of heavenly things using earthly materials and human craftsmen.
As an artist, I struggle to render what’s in my mind on paper or a screen. Much of what I envision is lost in translation because of my limited skills or knowledge. The temple is an esquisse of heavenly things, but what else? We collectively are the bride of Christ. How clearly do we see that spiritual reality? A vague esquisse.
If we look at 2 Corinthians 3 with the eyes of an artist. We are God’s work of art, the living letter he is writing to the world. "you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
And even though what we see in an esquisse, God, the master artist, is constantly molding and transforming us. "we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another."
This makes me want to take a step back and say, "God, show me what you’re up to." He is painting a magnificent masterpiece. At the same time it is reassuring, because I understand what I am seeing is only a model, a draft, an esquisse of what will one day be revealed. Still, it can be beautiful to look at.