Children, Artists, Prophets, and Politics

Children, artists, and prophets have one thing in common. They see things with fresh eyes.

When my daughter was two, we were in the Art Institute in Chicago when she suddenly saw a large brass Rodin sculpture of a woman. “There’s Mommy!” she exclaimed. Once my little brother, who liked finger painting, came to my mother with a “painting” he had just completed, solid green. Mother asked him what the picture was. “A snake hiding in the grass”!

“What do you see?” the Lord asked Jeremiah. Prophets, too, see things others do not. The Bible tells how Jeremiah once went down to the local department store, bought a brand new kilt in the latest fashion and put it on. But then he took it off again and buried it on the bank of the EuphratesRiver. Some weeks later he dug it up, reeking, moldy, filthy. “Israel,” he cried, “is just like this kilt.” It was beautiful at one time, close and intimate to God: “as the kilt cleaves to the loins of a man so have I caused to cleave to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah,” God said. But Jeremiah saw that, like the kilt, the nation would become soiled, evil. This insight into itself, this judgment upon itself, the nation could not see.

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