God Provides: Paul Oman’s Reflections (2015)

Thank you to everyone who joined us for worship the day before Thanksgiving, especially all of the musicians and readers who heightened the experience of the live painting. Thank you to Brian Bremer for taking photos this year (2015)! Prints of the final work are available for order at the Welcome Center. Here is a description by the artist, Paul Oman:

“God Provides”
Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14

Then Jesus ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled.

Matthew 14:19-20

Artist’s Reflections:  Manna (or “bread” as we usually think of it) had not fallen in the wilderness since the time of the Exodus when the Israelites roamed the wilderness over 1200 years earlier.  Now the manna was falling again! 

Once the Israelites reached the Promised Land, they did not need manna to fall since there was an abundance of food and water in this “land of milk and honey.”  Jesus brings the people back into their own story, carrying it forward to the present, multiplying bread and fish as the people are gathered in the wilderness of Galilee.  Moreover, they are on a mountain when this happens – a Biblical sign that God is giving an important message to the people.  This is their Messiah, their Savior! 

In a similar situation on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus feeds 4000 Gentiles (non-Israelites), showing that the grace and abundance of God is not only for the Israelites, but for all.

Sense the anxiety in the character looking up to Jesus.  What lies before him is impossible.  Yet Jesus stands next to the boy with fish and loaves, with a calm presence, preparing to show God’s presence in their midst.  The bread and fish are in the foreground, giving scale to the message in this miracle.  Jesus is THE BREAD OF LIFE.  The manna is falling again, and is still falling in our midst today.    

Leave a Reply