Our friend, Maria, shared this drawing with us, along with her thoughts:
“This is a brand new work by Harper Hazen, my son, with whom I am well pleased. OX-My Yoke 40H”x 27W” with marker on paper. It is a large work for being a drawing done in the very unforgiving media-black marker. What do I mean by the marker being unforgiving? You can’t erase marker or go over it and cover it very well without making a muddy mess. When I taught drawing at the college level and would meet a student who was too scared to draw for fear of making a mistake, I’d have them draw only with black marker and with their non-dominant hand to help them get over that fear. Somehow they just knew they were going to make a mistake and would forget about being so perfect, loosen up and get over that fear.
“In this drawing, Harper boldly sets out to make permanent marks which cannot be hidden and from which he can never retract once he commits to dragging that marker tip over the large white paper. A close-up look honestly shows the viewer exactly how the artist’s hand moved and how every mark was made. This drawing is almost like a polygraph showing exactly how Harper is feeling as he thinks about his theme.
“I wept when I gazed at this work. The words ‘My yoke is easy’ come from Matthew 11:28-30 – ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’ Is this drawing about Christ? But aren’t yokes usually put on oxen, not lambs? Although Christ is usually symbolized by an innocent lamb, I do see Christ under this yoke and in this ox. I see the Christ that was entangled in the great controversy with Satan. How can that ox pleadingly look at me with that eye and ask me to take its ‘easy, light yoke’ while that python-sized snake appears to overcome it? Here is where I burst out crying, realizing I might not have accepted Christ while on the cross like one of the thieves beside Him did. How is Christ’s yoke easy and light? It is not easy to believe and join someone who appears to be losing.”
Maria’s question struck me as well. I never realized what enormous faith it must have taken for the thief on the cross next to Christ’s to express his belief. “It’s not easy to believe and join someone who appears to be losing.” Would I have looked over at the beaten, bloodied man dying an agonizing criminal’s death on the cross next to me and said “I believe, Lord”?