Acrylic and Mixed Media Painting. First painted in (Spring 2009) A second painting “Suzuran” 2. (Spring 2010)

“Wake up, wake up, Jerusalem! Become strong! Be beautiful again, Holy City of Jerusalem! (Isaiah 51.9 – NLT)

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you” (Isaiah 60 v1, 2)

I had been thinking about what it means that the Church is “The Bride of Christ”. As I meditated on Bible passages about this theme, I felt inspired to paint a picture of how I imagined the Bride would look, if she was truly ready and waiting for her Bridegroom. I saw her Awake! Watchful! Dressed in her beautiful wedding garments, scanning the horizon, eager for signs of her Bridegroom. Around her a whirlwind of loose ends, the shape of many unanswered questions in her heart, but her eyes are focused, confident in hope that the day dawns, and her Beloved comes for Her. Her bridal bouquet is already in her hand, fragrant with “Lily of the Valley”, sweetness gathered in suffering.

Researching “Lily of the Valley” to get a picture of the flower, I came across the website suzuranbbc.com. “Suzuran” is the Japanese version of our English name “Susannah” and means “Lily of the Valley”. The website belonged to a Baptist Church, planted in Hiroshima in 1993. The Church had chosen this little flower to represent the good news of Jesus’ Resurrection. Out of the ashes of Hiroshima, lily of the valley carpets the slopes of mountains that once were devastated by atomic fallout!

“Once the snow melts and the harsh Hokkaido winter ends, a small plant sprouts and before long it displays short stems holding many small, cute, bell shaped flowers. Though tiny, these white bells give off a beautiful fragrance. This flower is not only beautiful but strong. No matter how cold the winter, they always return in the spring, so as to ring their tiny bells.”

What a beautiful picture of Christian hope, speaking of Jesus, our “Lily of the Valley.” It was impossible for the grave to hold Him captive, and he endured the cross and grave, for the joy set before him, His Bride. In days when there is so much evil rampant in the earth, it is good to focus our eyes on Him, so that we don’t grow weary and worn down by evil. For those who overcome the promise is sure “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty”.

“Who among us can live with the consuming fire? He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain, and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe, he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil, he will dwell on the heights, his refuge will be the impregnable rock, his bread will be given him, his water will be sure. Your eyes will see the King in His beauty.” (Isaiah 33v14 to17)

“Look, here He comes… leaping across the mountains! My Beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise my Darling, My Beautiful One, and come with me. See, the winter is past: the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth: the season of singing has come; the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my Darling, my Beautiful One, come with me.’” (Song of Songs 2v8 to 13)

Hazel Patterson     Summer 2010.

Revised February 2015

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