We Were Made for Relationship

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

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Nighthawks

It's late in this picture, perhaps the wee hours of the morning. The store across the street from the cafe is dark and empty. The offices or apartments above the store are dark and empty as well. The street and sidewalk have a green glow from the light pouring through what might be the tinted windows of the restaurant.

Phillies Cafe is totally open to view. Nothing is hidden from us. There are no cozy corner tables. Single stools are placed equal distance from each other going around the service area. One man in a suit and hat sits alone with his back to us. Another man sits with his lady friend opposite the man on his own. They are not talking together. She examines her fingernails and looks off at nothing. Her partner looks at the soda fountain clerk who seems attentive to what he wants but isn't talking. No one is speaking.

As we look in on this scene we almost feel uncomfortable. There is an emptiness that suddenly becomes palpable as you see the bright yellow wall cut by the darkness through the window. Everything is clean and neat but sterile. Hard lines and edges slice and dice this painting and even the two stainless steel urns at the back wall are like two little robots waiting to be wound up and set loose.

Edward Hopper captures well the isolation of modern man in the urban setting of today. People are all around but they are gone or sleeping or silent. You don't sense any of the close fellowship of a rural farm community here. The three customers are all well dressed and prosperous looking but are they really alive? There is absolutely no excitement, no passion, no relationship in this painting. Even the man and woman -- obviously together -- look distant.

God created man in his image which means that we are created for relationship. Man's most important relationship is with his Creator - the God who made him. From our fellowship with God we are inspired for life and living. He gives us ideas and passion and enthusiasm.  When it bubbles up inside of us we have to share it with others. It comes as naturally to us as getting up in the morning.

If you feel none of this passion for life and relate more to those in this painting,  you may be dead inside -- i.e. your spirit may be dead. If that is your condition, God offers you a way to abundant life. This life is in his Son Jesus and Jesus offers it freely to us. He says, "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."  John 7:37-38

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