Beloved: not a word we use in everyday language. Can you imagine using it as a term of endearment for your husband or wife?
"Oh Beloved, could you help me with the dishes?" Sounds so formal for a word that means "greatly loved; dear to the heart." In other words, beloved means you "be loved". A lot.
On Resurrection Sunday (also known as Easter), I painted this during worship:
Before I began, I had an idea of the composition. But I thought I would be painting lilies, as they are associated with the Resurrection. As I painted, I heard God's Spirit tell me "paint poppies". A field of poppies emerged while the worship music played.
God's Spirit leads me on a path of discovery.
He said, "Look! Their shape!" I saw it: the same shape as the tomb. I had painted a field of poppies to represent followers of Jesus, living in abundant life. This field of poppies looked like colorful empty tombs. The devil thought he could entomb Jesus. He thinks he can entomb us too. He is wrong.
The thief came to steal, kill and destroy. He thought he was destroying Jesus on the cross. But Jesus came that we may have abundant life with Him. Jesus saved us even before the Resurrection; when He went to the cross, He saved us from the cross we deserved.
These tomb-shaped poppies are reminders our redeemed life, and of the dead, empty life we leave behind. We can't do it on our own. We must realize that we can't come out of the tomb when there's a big stone (our sin) blocking the exit. Jesus rolled away the stone of our tomb. All we have to do is confess our sin. In other words, acknowledge that He took the punishment we deserve. He rolled the stone away, and we may walk out of our tomb. The stone has already been rolled away. The choice is yours. Don’t stay in the tomb. Get up and walk out, into abundant life in Jesus.
I am not perfect, but I am perfectly loved. I am free from the sin that had kept me entombed.
You are beloved. Greatly loved. Dear to the heart of God.
When I finished the painting, I looked at the back. On the back was written the title "Beloved". I had titled this painting 5 years ago when I originally painted on this canvas during worship at a women's conference. It was inspired by scripture. I had collaged several passages from Song of Songs, along with some colored papers, onto the canvas.
I continued to work on this painting after the conference. I put a lot of hours into it... and it hung in my studio for years.
Recently, God's Spirit prompted me to paint over it and prep it for another worship time. As I painted, I was inspired by Psalm 55:16. The bride disappeared under a new layer of paint.
On Resurrection Day 2022, this old canvas received its third and final layer. What a journey it has had. I believe the previous paintings still speak through the top layers of paint. The Lord is my Beloved. He has saved me. He has given me a new life.
This painting now has a new life. It will go to a very special person who was there while I painted the third painting on this canvas. She is beloved. I think the title still fits, don't you?