Monday, January 28, 2013

God will provide the Lamb

"God will provide the Lamb"
Michael R. Carter
32" x 14"
Oil on corrugated cardboard

     And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" And Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.
Genesis 22:7,8 NASB

     Tests come in many forms. Teachers test their students. People test our patience. Situations test our convictions. Chapter 22 of Genesis begins with these words:

'Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham...'

Teresa of Avila, in the Interior Castle, commented-

"We are fonder of consolations than we are of the Cross. Test us, Lord- for You know the truth- so that we may know ourselves."

     Tests are life's litmus paper, revealing the acidity or baseness of our character. Abraham's test revealed his faith.

The texture of Truth tempers the test.

     This painting is the result of a friend's question- "Have you considered painting the story of Abraham?" Click here for the original post.

      As the painting progressed, the work became a collaborative effort. My friend noticed the Hebrew word for love- ahava- contained within Abraham's name.  Two names, Abraham and Elohim, touch at the tip of the ram's horn. The tip of the horn crosses the final letter of Abraham, forming the A of AHAVA. The ram's horn later became an instrument, the shofar, to be blown on Rosh Hashanah. In this image, God and Abraham meet at the mouthpiece of the shofar. In the blowing of the shofar, God-breathed man offers breath in return, as a reminder of sacrificial love.


     As a final note, the inclusion of two Arabic words were suggested- the word for 'sacrifice' on the left and the word 'Moriah' on the right. In the story of Abraham, three faith-groups meet: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

     If the viewer 'reads' the painting from the left, the story begins with an instrument of death. If, however, the painting is treated as the reading of Hebrew, the story begins with the sacrificial life. And in the middle are the thorns. 

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