Born in a time of absolutes; to parents living in the land of free spirits; I have always held things up to inspection to question whether or not something rings true for me.
Sometimes things just don’t add up…this then can lend itself to cynicism if I’m not careful.
How does a person know who or what to believe anymore?
This painting by Gauguin gives a brief window into his silent struggles. The simple and pure beauty of the image captures my attention and pulls me into the scene.
Then I wonder: Why is this image so appealing? What deeply rooted longing is it sympathetically vibrating in me?
Painted just five years before he died, I believe, it is a picture of Gauguin making peace with his inner war between life and death. I think this because Gauguin had recently lost his favorite daughter, the one who would perhaps carry on his name in the art world and he was also recovering from a failed suicide attempt. Suffering with bad health, deeply in debt and longing for some kind of recognition from the art world, Gauguin creates another world that might exist deep within the jungle by casting a green hue over the white horse to suggest thick foliage hanging over head. Notice how the trees frame the scene in the upper right and draw our eyes to the riders who are receding deeper into the forest. Gauguin paints no sky, instead he zeros in on a single horse bending his head to drink from the cool stream.
I can imagine the sound of the babbling brook and I long to pause and fully enjoy the moment. A masterpiece and one I could look at forever. I have to chuckle when I read that the pharmacist who commissioned the work would not pay for it on the grounds that the horse was too green. Art isn’t easy…
The truth is- sometimes we feel things long before we understand why…
I begin to think about how our culture always associates the good guys riding in on white horses to save the day. A single person who becomes a strongman with superhuman abilities and timing that will save us. And then I think: Do I tend to see Jesus in this way?
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” – Revelation 19:11
The truth is- when I don’t perceive things going my way, I tend to stop and cry and wonder why Jesus has abandoned me.
“…Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciple. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32
The truth is- victory is sweeter and much more beneficial if I am able to win the battle through my own perceived efforts.
“Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life.” – John 14: 6a
The truth is- at any one period of our lives we only perceive truth through a particular lens and this lens is usually nearsighted at the best of times…
However, Jesus can suddenly open a window casting a new light and transforming the colors of white for us with his gift of new insight.
The truth is- Jesus is always with us and understands when the time is right for deeper understanding. He is with us even in our short sightedness.
The truth is – Jesus.
Nothing more or less.
He is the most pared down creed of our faith.
He is back to basics–simplified and pure.
In Jesus Name