On the side he was studying wildlife, and he was painting. So well that by 1977, he had his first painting published. “Winter Snows” graced the cover of Farmer magazine. From there, his career took off, and in time he became one off our country’s most widely-collected painters of Americana and wildlife.
I love his paintings. Why? Redlin’s paintings invite me in! I want to sit on the porch of the cabins he paints, or ride in his sleigh down the snow-covered path to the little white country church. I dream of kicking back in his fishing boat on a sun-bathed lake or watching those mallards fly by, framed by rustling oak leaves and the dried brush along the river-banks.
When I read the closing verses of Psalm 65, I find myself drawn in, as if into a Terry Redlin painting. Let’s see if these words draw you in as well. “You visit the earth and water it. You make it very rich. God’s stream is filled with water. You provide grain for them, just as you planned. You drench the land’s furrows. You flatten its plowed ground. You soften it with showers. You bless its crops. You crown the year with your goodness. The tracks made by your carts overflow with riches. The pastures of the wilderness drip. The hills are wrapped with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks. The valleys are dressed with grain. They shout for joy. Yes! They sing.” (Psalm 65:9-13, EHV)
Can you see those springtime streams swollen by deep winter snows, their waters cascading over the rocks, forming awe-inspiring waterfalls? Can you see the valleys mantled with grain, washed in the warm hues of a dazzling sunrise or breath-taking sunset? Can you see the carts groaning under the weight of another bumper crop—pumpkins, squash, and corn? Can you see those hillsides wrapped with joy--the intense reds, oranges and yellows of autumn?
I can. And I have seen all these things! So have you. Where? In the myriad of scenes painted by the Almighty Himself all around us here in the USA!
All of which, I pray, beckons us to become part of another scene. On Thanksgiving Day. Seated at the table with friends and family. Smacking our lips over turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green-bean casserole, and pumpkin-pecan pie with whipped topping.
We gaze around the table at those who are so precious to us. We look up, pause, and ponder the cross that hangs on the wall. Then we bow our heads, fold our hands, and thank the Lord for placing us in a Terry Redlin painting--bathed in the warming rays of His Son.
Privileged to serve,
Rev. Glenn Schwanke