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Last Friday, Catherine Brassard e-mailed me a short note, along with the image above as an attachment. Her note included the following, "I was being urged to paint a picture but really didn't know how God was going to use it. When I was done I offered it up and randomly opened the Bible. The verse Proverbs 17:17 was what I landed on. 'A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times.' I thank God that he has made us brothers and sisters to share the weight of these tough times."

She later added, "I only had an image that was pressing in my mind for weeks. I didn't know where He was taking it. The verse He chose was totally unexpected and had me add the hugging figures. So glad that there is Light in this world. It truly changes the way you look at things."

As I sat with the image, a different reminder from scripture came to me. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Art, of various media, has been an essential element the church has used for connecting with God for millennia. God uses artistic beauty (and chaos and tension and splendor) to open us up to hear from his spirit. This week, I would like to invite you to sit with some beautiful art. It could be this piece by Catherine or a favourite painting of yours (you can access many paintings through virtual tours online). It could be in a garden with a budding flower, in a quiet spot just off a local trail, or by listening to a magnificent piece of music. I'd invite you to sit with something beautiful, not only to enjoy the beauty but with a prayer that through it God would stir something in your heart. And then listen for what he whispers to you - listen as you pay attention to all the details and nuances of the art, and the feelings elicited and any stirrings to respond.