I wander around the art museum, trying to find my way. I was told there is a gift there for me.
When I finally arrive at the place I was told to go, I am stunned. The beauty that is before me is too much. I cannot move. It is a masterpiece beyond description.
It can’t be true. Is it really a gift for me? There must be some mistake. It’s too heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I cannot comprehend this exists at all, much less accept this as a gift.
I am overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do.
Then, I look down and remember. That piece of broken crayon in my hand. The one I grabbed in anger after my son scribbled on the wall. It is still wrapped up in my fingers. I was on my way to throw it out when I somehow ended up here.
I begin to scribble on the painting.
At first, just a little bit, on the bottom corner. Something in me feels like I must do something, and it’s the only thing I can think to do. As if somehow adding to the work of the artist will make me more deserving of the gift.
But as I move my hand back and forth and back and forth, I notice that it doesn’t help. I grow more unsettled with each movement. My strokes grow wider and more furious as the sense of unworthiness and frustration grows within me. With each glide across the canvas, I feel more wretched than the last.
Until suddenly, there is a noise in the other room. I look away. And when I look back to the masterpiece again, I realize what I have done.
And I crumple to the ground in utter despair.
What was I thinking? Why did I think trying to add to this great work would somehow make me more deserving of it?
It is not better. It is worse. So much worse. What have I done?
I take off my scarf. Maybe I can use it to wipe away my mistake. I scour as hard as I can. But the more I scrub, the worse the mess seems to get.
I look around. Has anyone noticed? Does anyone know what a mess I have made? I wring my hands and go back to scrubbing, not sure what else to do.
Why did I do this? Why? Oh, if I could take it back! I’d give anything to take it back. How do I make up for this now?
My only instinct is to try harder. I wipe at the painting with the tears that have begun to stream down my cheeks, hoping the water will help.
It doesn’t. Nothing seems to help.
I hear footsteps behind me and my heart sinks to the floor. I turn around to look. It is the artist. I try to hide, but he is walking right towards me, with an outstretched hand.
He pries open my palm and the crayon tumbles to the ground.
My love, this masterpiece is finished. It is my work, not yours. You do not need to add to it. It is complete. And it is a gift. You need only come. You need only receive.
He reaches over to my other arm and takes away my scarf.
My love, your own scrubbing cannot get this clean. Trying to cover it up your marks does no good. I am the artist. It is accomplished only through me.
He puts his hand on the painting, and through my tears, I see the crayon dissolve.
The artist looks back at me, and I see that I was not alone in my weeping. He grabs my shoulders and looks me in the eyes.
My love, when I said this was a gift for you, I meant it. It is forged from the beauty and pain of a perfect love. There is nothing you can do to add to it. I am the one who finished it. And I completed this masterpiece for you. Take it home with you now. And know that you are worthy to have it because my love declares it so.
It is finished.
To be honest, this allegorical story was a little out of my writing comfort zone. But I couldn’t find any other words to describe the gravity and love and importance of John 19:30, when, as Jesus died, He declared, “It is finished!” I have often not believed those three little words, and attempted to add to Jesus’ work on the cross. It always ends in a mess.
A series to honor the Lenten season by reflecting on various teachings of Christ. Let’s think about who He was and what He came to do by talking about the words that came straight from His mouth.