God’s masterpiece (November 24, 2010)

If you believe in God, you believe that God created a lot of things, including other people. But, if you are like me, you may unconsciously imagine God creating people much like a factory cranks out toasters—automatically, almost blindly. According to the Course, the reality is just the opposite. There is a beautiful section in the Text (T-25.II) in which the Course speaks of our brother as God’s “masterpiece.” That term implies so much that it’s worth spending some time to reflect on it.

Originally, a masterpiece was part of the medieval guild system, in which an apprentice or journeyman presented to the guild a special piece of work, in the hopes that he would be judged worthy of the rank of master craftsman. It would therefore be his very best work. And that is the meaning we often associate with the word, and the one the Course references. A “masterpiece” is the greatest work of a person’s career, one that has been invested with all of the artist’s considerable skill and creativity, and one that has attracted a great deal of critical praise.

In the concept of a “masterpiece,” then, we have the artist pouring all of his or her artistic strengths into the work of a lifetime. It doesn’t end there, however. People see the mastery displayed in this work and this results in a general acknowledgment of its greatness. Now the circle is complete. That which the artist loves in the masterpiece has now been seen and appreciated by the public, and so the artist and public join in a shared love.

So now let us apply this to someone we know, perhaps someone we aren’t too happy with today. Realize that that person is “His masterpiece” (a phrase used four times in T-25.II.5-9), the masterwork of God’s “career.” The masterpiece, of course, isn’t the person’s body or personality, but rather that person’s true reality, beyond the imperfections of earth. Into that masterpiece, God poured everything He has as a Creator, all of His creativity, all of His strength, all of His Love, to produce the most exquisite creation He is capable of. Try to let in the fact that this person really is God’s masterpiece.

Your acknowledgment of this completes the circle begun by God’s creative act. It is not enough, for any artist, just to create the work. The circle isn’t complete until the masterpiece is seen and appreciated, until artist and public look on the work together and love it together. Only then is the artist’s joy complete. In this respect, God is no different. Please read the following paragraph slowly and thoughtfully, inserting this person’s name where indicated:

How could the Lord of Heaven not be glad if you appreciate [name,] His masterpiece? What could He do but offer thanks to you who love His Son [name] as He does? Would He not make known to you His Love, if you but share His praise of what He loves [i.e., name]? God cherishes creation [what He has created] as the perfect Father that He is. And so His joy is made complete when any part of Him [i.e., you] joins in His praise [of name], to share His joy. This brother [name] is His perfect gift to you. And He is glad and thankful when you thank His perfect Son [name] for being what he is. And all His thanks and gladness shine on you who would complete His joy, along with Him. (T-25.II.9)

This whole paragraph is about the joy that comes to God when you appreciate His masterpiece, when you “share His praise” of it. In this sense, God is like any artist. He has presented His masterpiece and now He waits for His audience to see in it what He sees. Will we be that audience today? Or will we walk on by unknowingly, blind to the fact that we have just passed by the masterpiece of the Creator of all that is?

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