“Come, Follow Me" – September 2022
James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), Michel Simonidy (1870-1933), The Confidence of the Just, c. 1896-1904, gouache on board, 7 1/3 x 6 4/5 in, The Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of the heirs of Jacob Schiff. On display in the Prophets, Priests, and Queens exhibition.
Sitting under the shade of the olive tree, a symbol of Christ, these three men enjoy peaceful study and contemplation. Their quiet confidence comes from knowing that they are where they’re meant to be, under the protection of their Savior.
As we encounter challenges, temptations, and reason to fear, we can find this same confidence by following the Lord. Ponder “the path of thy feet” (Proverbs 4:26). Are you where the Lord wants you to be? If not, how can you get there? As we take small steps toward the Savior, our confidence in Him will increase.
Gerald Curtis Delano (1890-1972), Canyon De Chelly, no Date, oil on board, 20 x 32 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of John H. and Jean S. Groberg, 2021.
Of all the metaphors used to describe the Lord in the Old Testament, perhaps one of the most enduring comes from Psalm 23, which Christ himself alludes to in John 10. In this recent acquisition, we see a Native American shepherd watching over a small flock near a calm, canyon stream. Though bright, potentially uninviting colors like orange and brown dominate the canvas, emphasizing the extremity of the desert environment, the scene exudes tranquility, safety, and serenity; the shepherd is here, and all is well.
What are your favorite analogies for the divine?
Marbella C. Lane, The Sacred Grove, no date, oil on canvas, 39 7/8 x 36 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Since the events that took place in the Sacred Grove, the Lord restored His church, His priesthood, and our ability to participate in authorized ordinances. This “marvellous work” (Isaiah 29:14) has given us both the opportunity to make covenants that help us grow, and to repent and change when we fall short.
The Lord can restore all things, including us. This healing balm offers us hope that all grief and trials will eventually end, and courage to take the steps toward repentance. Consider the ways the Lord has delivered you from sorrow, sin, and seasons of doubt.
Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), But as a Shadow that Fleeteth Away, no date, gouache and watercolor, 10 5/16 x 6 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Joyce and George Hill, 2018.
In Psalm 144, David offers an incredulous question to which he gives no answer: “Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him[?]… Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” Thomas Hart Benton based the title of this macabre watercolor – featuring a cracked human skull in the foreground and a ruined tower in the background – on this passage. Perhaps Benton intended it as a memento mori, a reminder of our own mortality. Yet the scriptures indicate that God is mindful of man in spite of our transience and weakness.
What gives you certainty that God is mindful of you personally?