encounters with God in the world's great art
Mary Cassatt: Mother About to Wash her Sleepy Child
(This image is projected onto a screen as the speaker delivers the accompanying text)
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Speaker: This is a masterpiece by Mary Cassatt, the most successful American Impressionist. And like other Impressionist works, it seeks to capture the essence of a single, specific moment in everyday life. So what is the essence Ms. Cassatt has captured?
The mother occupies most of the frame, but the painting is really all about the child. Her emphatically casual pose, the lazy confidence in her mother’s embrace, the gaze of intimate familiarity and trust… these things speak to us of the wonderful security that a child feels in its mother’s arms. It’s something that resonates deep within us because it’s something we’ve all experienced, and something that lives on in the sunniest, most treasured corners of our memory. We know we will never truly be children again, but we still yearn for this comfort, this peace, this fulfillment. In a multitude of ways, we spend much of our adulthood trying to recover some of what we lost as we grew older and wiser.
Sadly, those days of innocent bliss are gone forever, if we hope to reproduce the embrace of our earthly mothers. But the great news I have for you today is that there is One whose child you have always been, and Who is longing to hold you in an embrace even more peaceful, even more intimate, even more fulfilling than any mother ever has.
If you will confess your sins and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, He will wash you cleaner than soap and water ever can, and even without giving up your adulthood, you will experience the security and fulfillment of Him Who said, "Let the children come to Me."
(At this point the worship leader may invite people to make a profession of faith or may otherwise conduct an invitation in a method appropriate to the specific worship service. If a hymn is sung, appropriate selections might include Jesus is Tenderly Calling [Crosby/Stebbins], Lord I'm Coming Home [Kirkpatrick], The Family of God [Gaither], or Jesus Loves Me [Warner/Bradbury].)