Sister Wendy Beckett's The Story of Painting has long been a stand-by art book in our home school. The beautiful Dorling Kindersley publication is chock full of large color illustrations that our kids, all four art lovers at heart, can pore over. Her text is clear, easy to understand, and fun to read. Her PBS video series is a winner, too -- and quite hilarious. I first watched it in Julie Bogart's living room at our first online retreat of Sonlighters in her Cincy home, and although Sister Wendy herself is very serious, her accent and way of speaking somehow had us literally rolling on Julie's floor, tears of laughter streaming down our faces. Perhaps we had imbibed too much pinot grigio. But it was funny.
In my notebook of quotations, this one from Sister Wendy is the first one I jotted down --- in August of 2001. It speaks of love, knowledge, and art with wisdom and panache, a classic Sister Wendy phrase:
Sister Wendy's thoughts here apply just as much to faith as to art. Knowledge comes from outside, but love comes from inside. So when we love a piece of art, a book, another person, or Our Saviour, we hunger to know them better, more completely, in every way possible. So what we love controls what we know.
"But knowledge must come to us from outside, from reading,
listening, and viewing. If we know that we know, we can perhaps dare to
look [at art]. Love and knowledge go hand in hand. When we love, we
always want to know...."
-- Sister Wendy Beckett, The Story of Painting, 1994
Yet without knowledge, how can we love in the first place?
So we're rather back to the chicken and the egg question, aren't we?
Yet the One who created us knows us intimately, more intimately than anyone else ever has or will. Despite our failures and foibles, He loves us anyway. Perfectly. Nothing we ever do will cause Him to love us any more or any less than He already does this very minute. But as Pastor Stephen at Lake Murray is fond of stating: "God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way."
Love and knowledge. Knowledge and love. They entertwine together, breathing revelation with each intake, showing us who we really are and Who loves us perfectly. As Sister Wendy remarks, "Love and knowledge go hand in hand."
Yes, they certainly do.