In the Likeness of the MasterAug 19, 2020
A few years ago, on trip to St. Petersburg, we had the pleasure of visiting the Hermitage Museum.
A mere fraction of their 3,000,000 pieces are on display at any one time, and we saw a fraction of a fraction of that. The amount of beauty and craftsmanship is overwhelming.
Alan had been there before, so he knew when we were nearing the painting we were most looking forward to seeing, Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son. He gave me a brief warning as we turned the corner, “Get ready.”
We rounded the corner and entered the room completely devoted to Rembrandt’s paintings. There it was, on its own wall, as we walked through the doorway. The original Prodigal Son. Breathtaking. (See us with the painting, below).
I waited a bit for the crowd to clear so I could get a close-up view for myself. A masterful work of art, depicting essential truths: The Father is waiting. He never gives up. He loves me. He is generous.
As I made my way through the rest of the room, I came upon a section entitled, “Rembrandt’s Students.” A few works created by those Rembrandt had taught.
The lighting, the colors, and the style appeared, to my untrained eye, to be identical to Rembrandt himself.
The word apprentice floated through my mind. That’s what that word means. You are trained so well by the master that your work is indistinguishable from his.
I did a little research and found that some of Rembrandt’s assistants were so closely mentored by him that their works are considered to be genuine Rembrandts to this day.
Often, when we talk to people about Unhurried Time with God, we offer that the reason we do it is because Jesus himself did it. Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. He got in touch with the Father so he could find out what to do, and more importantly, who he was.
Jesus said that the works he did were the Father’s works and the words he spoke were the Father’s words. How else did he know what to do and say except for time spent in God’s presence?
- How might we copy the Master so that our work is indistinguishable from his?
- What amount and kind of time does that take?
- What sorts of practices are conducive to receiving his love, his mentorship, his guidance?
I encourage you to sit with those questions the next time you are in God’s presence. What would it look like for you to become an even more devoted apprentice?
I ask these questions with great grace. I see them as invitations, not guilt trips to a more extensive to-do list. How can you make space for receptivity?
Wouldn’t it be great for someone to look at your life and work and exclaim, “Wow! That looks exactly like Jesus. I can’t distinguish between the two of you because you are so much alike.”
Let his invitation draw you in. Learn from the Master. He is a loving genius. Enjoy him today.
Adapted from a blog post dated December 7, 2016.