I got your attention with these paintings, didn’t I? This artist creates some of the more bizarre pieces of artwork I have seen. Go ahead and Google him to see what I mean. His name is Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a masterful and prolific Italian painter of the Renaissance period. Although he had a great number of other artistic endeavors, he remains best known for his “portraits” composed by imaginatively arranging objects, plants, animals, and other elements of nature. Arcimboldo’s art challenges the boundaries of conventional portraiture as he invites us to use our imagination and see things differently.
God’s word is always challenging us to see things differently. Not with our physical eyes, but with the eyes of the heart. In Mark 10 there is a story of a blind man named Bartimaeus. He senses Jesus is passing by and calls out to him, asking Jesus to have mercy. Even though the crowds try to keep Bartimaeus quiet, he continues to cry out. He cannot see Jesus with his physical eyes, but he senses who he is with his spiritual ones.
When our paradigms shift and we see everyone as a child of God, as someone loved and created by God, as a fellow traveler on this road of life, experiencing the same hardships, trials, and emotions that we do, a different portrait of our fellow being emerges.
Rabbi Harold Kushner says, “Religion is not primarily a set of beliefs, a collection of prayers, or a series of rituals. Religion is first and foremost a way of seeing. It can’t change the facts about the world we live in, but it can change the way we see those facts, and that in itself can often make a difference.”
Being human connection: Ephesians 1:18 says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened that you may know the hope to which he has called you.”
Featured art: Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Portrait of Rudolf II of Hapsburg as Vertumnus, 1590. The Four Elements, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, 1566.