The Beginning of…


Deep Thoughts for Deep People (a weekly devotional)

“The Beginning of…”

I took this photo in the Art Institute this afternoon. In 1918/1919, Marsden Hartley painted this piece, “The Last of New England — The Beginning of New Mexico.” The material itself is interesting — oil paint on cardboard, of all things — but the joy and freedom behind it is what I’d like to meditate on. He was celebrating the clean air and vast, unspoiled space and leaving behind the opposites in the crowded east. He said, “there is nothing dirty standing between one and the sunlight.”

When I look at the painting, I feel the space and the sense of falling into hope, and the urge to run down the hill into the openness.

Psalm 147:6 says, “The Lord lifts up the downtrodden,” and a few verses earlier, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.”

Just as the west offered Hartley open space for living, God offers open space, spiritually. A way to feel the sunlight. Those who have been downtrodden (in other words, stepped on!), God lifts up. There is space to fall into hope and walk or run into openness.

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