“Grace Bomer’s desire is to paint the good news story well. God’s extravagant grace and rescue are the subjects of her recent series called The Crossing.” These words were written about my piece called “Red Sea Crossing,” selected by Texas juror Mary McCleary, Stephen F. Austin State University Regent’s Professor of Art, Emeritas, for a show called The Beautiful.
Red Sea Crossing (above) 30 x 30 oil and wax and gold and silver leaf on panel
This traveling show is sponsored by Christians In the Visual Arts (CIVA.org). It began early in 2018 at Center Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI, and was subsequently shown at many venues –The Center for Life Long Learning/Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA; Bethel College Gallery, location of the 2019 CIVA conference; and more recently, the Metcalf Gallery at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana; and the Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information: The Beautiful
Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, “They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.” And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. And they did so. …
The navigable plain where the Philistines lived was the shortest route to Canaan, but it was dangerous for a people ill-prepared for war. God told Moses to lead the people of Israel south to escape Egypt. They headed towards Midian, present day Arabia, where God had prepared Moses for desert living for 40 years when he had escaped Egypt earlier. Turning south of the well-traveled trade route to a dead-end between the formidable mountains and the Red Sea looked like a trap. It was. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he pursued them thinking they could be captured.
God showed Pharaoh at the Red Sea Crossing that all things are possible through the God who rules the nations. He taught his people to trust this glorious Redeemer God at this crossing.
Red Sea Crossing II continues this series of redemption. The figure representing Moses leading his people through the Red Sea, is more importantly Christ himself.
Moses is a type of Christ. “Messiah” is derived from the same Hebrew root as Mosheh — to be drawn out of, rescued from the water. Jesus would rescue his people through the water (baptism and death) by his own blood (Red Sea) to glory and the promised land.
Jesus left the glories of heaven to become a man. His incarnation brought the heavenly realm and the earthly realm together. The people that he had created to live on the earth had listened to the deception of Satan, but God had already chosen a beloved people before the foundation of the world. He would rescue this “bride” from Satan’s domain and take them to the heavenly realm.
He crossed over to conquer Satan and death and the grip of Egypt. In the small painting below, called The Crossing, red lines reference his bloody “nets” of rescue. Jesus entered time and space as a man (gold figure in lower half) to take captive his captives and give gifts to men (Psalm 68:18).
Jesus’ obedient death on a cross, descent into hell, and resurrection on the third day, accomplished the death blow to Satan and Satan’s banishment from heaven. “Jesus said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning'” (Luke 10:18). Although Satan is the “prince of this world” who knows “his time is short,” he has been bound. His power is limited and God’s people are safe.
Jesus ascended into heaven bodily — 40 days after his resurrection–after he had defeated Satan. This Crossing, his Ascension is very important. Now Jesus would take his place of cosmic rule seated at the right hand of God the Father. He sent God the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of his people on earth to help them. He will return bodily — every eye will see him even those who pierced him — to consummate his Wedding Day and his rule in a new heavens and a new earth, one without sin and evil and death.
In this painting, One Who Came On The Waters of Time, the Triune God is present. The three figures. God the Father, Jesus the Son (in red), and God the Holy Spirit (center figure with gold) are riding the waves of the nations tribes and tongues of world (Rev 17:15).
The waves / sea are a symbol of the fallen world. Jesus walked on the sea and he stilled the sea. In the book of Revelation his rule is shown as he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice like a lion roaring. . . (Rev. 10:2). In John’s vision of heaven, the sea is calm and as transparent as glass. And before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal, (Rev. 4:6). And in the new heavens and earth there will be no more sea / evil. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . and the sea was no more, (Rev. 21:1).
The God of beauty and holiness speaks through his beautiful Word, a double-edged sword of wonder – the Word who became flesh and proclaims the glory (and beauty) of a Creator who chooses to live with us in our humanity.
Red Sea Crossing is about journey and pilgrimage of both God and man. We are vessels, voyagers and seamen. Our journey is sacramental (sacred) in that we are vessels created by God in his image to proclaim His glory (see Vessel Series – www.gracecarolbomer.com).
Hallowed by Thy name; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven