This past Monday, Cynthia and I visited the Denver Art Museum. Treasures of British Art is a new exhibition. The museum describes it as follows:
“Treasures of British Art will present 500 years of British cultural history through the stories of its people, captured by the enduring brilliance of artists of the time. The exhibition will feature devotional images, portraits, landscapes and sporting scenes by the greatest artists of the British School—including Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence and John Constable—as well as non-British artists who spent significant time in Britain—such as the Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck, and American artists Benjamin West and John Singer Sargent.”
Think of it as a 500 years of selfies, or as they were called then, portraits. Most of these painting hung in homes throughout Britain. But they hung for a purpose. Each one said something about an individual or family which they wanted said. In other words, their purpose was to communicate what was important to them, and what they were like. If you look carefully at the attached family portrait, the little girl is holding up the dogs collar. In the painting it was easy to see the collar was made of gold. This family wanted everyone to know even their dog did well!
In Sunday’s passage, Titus 2:1-10, Paul paints a picture to show the saints on Crete what should be important to them, and what they should be like. There are five groups in this portrait”. Older men, 2:1; Older women, 2:3-4a; Younger women, 2:4b-5 Younger men, 6-8; and finally, bondslaves, 2:9-10.
In Paul’s portrait, like the one attached of The Radcliffe Family by Thomas Hudson 1741, there is an interconnectedness. The sisters are touching, the baby receives a piece of fruit from his sister, and the boy is giving his sister a rose. This interconnectedness begs the question, how well did the Radcliffes get along? What was the reputation of the Father, the Mother, the children in the community?
And that brings us back to why these ten verses are so important to us. They tell us what should be important to us as we interconnect, and what we should be like. So join me this Sunday and find out how God wants each of us to pose!