The Peaceable Kingdom?
Intaglio with smoke
Edward Hicks (1780—1849)
The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1834
Oil on canvas, 30 X 35 inches
The Peaceable Kingdom is part of an old and beautiful genre originated by early American painters. It depicts God’s Kingdom on earth here in the U.S.A., with the lion, the lamb, the Indians, the settlers, and their children all living together in harmony. It’s all a part of that marvelous early optimism we had as a young nation -- Transcendentalism, manifest destiny, the establishment of freedom and democracy, etc. And it also looks forward to the real kingdom, which can only be established when Christ returns.
We as Christians are supposed to be kingdom builders. The real kingdom cannot come into being until our Lord comes back, rolls up his sleeves, and establishes his peace, truth, justice, freedom, love, etc. But we’re supposed to try to work towards his kingdom in our hearts and in our daily business, which includes our government.
This piece comes from the gut, mind, and spirit. It dialogues with The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, and it is a litmus test designed to ask where we are in our kingdom building.
For me the colors in the litmus test come up the greenish color of U.S. money, and the color black/brown of burning oil wells.