Chi-Rho Newsletter Sept 2017 Pastel Mosaic – God’s Surprises

“Pastel Mosaic with John 17:3″ acrylic on canvas,  © July 2017 by Donna Gonzalez

I love good surprises don’t you? And this artwork is no exception, it’s now one of my favorites and I’m so very excited to unpack what this mosaic painting holds for us. This acrylic painting is composed of 16 panels put into a pattern.

A bit of a background here… a couple of weeks ago I had asked several of my friends on social media for their favorite scriptures because I wanted to have some bible verses to put on my already painted mosaic artwork so that it would bless others, and unbeknownst to me, God would honored that!

 One friend’s favorite scripture is from the Gospel of John:

“Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ; whom you sent.” – John 17:3

As with many of my mosaics there are often hidden Christian symbols in my work which I call God’s fingerprints. And I did noticed the central cross, but nothing more. 

God’s like that, sometimes He won’t let me see all the symbols until later, and that is perfectly fine by me because in finding them, I get to praise His Name, and in sharing what I find out with another believer who happens to be blessed by it; they too get to praise God! What you’re about to read is His doing not mine. Glory to Jesus!

As I said, the obvious symbol is the center cross.

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 4.16.19 PM

Hmmm…

 John 17:3 reminds me of the cross of Christ and why He came and the answer is found in one of the most beloved and often quoted bible verses:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

God loves us and desires that none perish and to show His love He gave His Son Jesus to take the penalty of our sin and to die in our place. God’s love enables us to love Him and to love other people.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – John 4:7-12

Is not the heart a universal symbol of love? And there is not one but two in this painting! What is really cool is notice how each heart is joined together with their points encompassing the central cross. Upon further reflection this thought came to me:

Two hearts. God’s love shown at the cross is extended towards us radiating outward to reach all people. While the love of a redeemed heart set free by the cross of Christ extends upwards towards Him.  But there’s more!

hearts in my painting

When a person is saved the Holy Spirit makes them a new creation.  

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” II Corinthians 5:17

And isn’t that what a butterfly not only represents but is?* An brand new creation with wings to fly heaven-ward from once being a lowly earth bound caterpillar? We die into His death but live a new resurrected life in Christ Jesus when we come out of baptismal waters.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” – Romans 6:3-4

But there’s even more surprises! 

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 4.15.09 PM

As believers in Jesus He sends us his help through angels. There are four of them in the painting. Though the image below is only a portion of the painting they are found at each quadrant corner of the mosaic just to the right and left of the center cross. Now these are harder to see which is why I never saw them before.

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14

 And still there is more!

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 4.17.19 PM

After studying this painting more I noticed there’s this figure….doubled actually (one upside-down which is part of the first figure). Each doubled figure is located above and below the center cross and it’s body is what makes up the butterfly.  As I pondered about this figure and realized the figures have their arms raised like an orant figure. Just like the orant figures which were painted on the inside walls of Roman catacombs.

The orant figure was a person standing with arms raised and it was considered to be the gesture of prayer for the early Christian church. Early as in the days of St. Peter and Paul and afterwards. Wow! The figure in the painting even has a face and wears a type of hat… or maybe a helmet? Hmmm…The helmet of salvation?

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:17 

Now I don’t see a sword in this painting (and if you find one let me know!)  but I’m reminded of I Thessalonians 5:16-18.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – I Thessalonians 5:16:18 

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 4.18.41 PM

Now I ask you….isn’t that what we as Christians who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and have been shown God’s great love, mercy and grace are supposed to be doing all throughout our lives? Praise God! I soo love this mosiac!  

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” – Romans 12:!

If you love this artwork too, it’s available for sale at my online store called  Redbubble.

May this artwork bless and encourage you in your walk with Jesus my friend!

in Him,

Donna

*Yep, caterpillars really do a death and resurrection

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