2 years ago, I was looking through some show posters from Raleigh's music festival Hopscotch and I stumbled upon some work by Doc Reed (Reedicus). I immediately loved his illustrations, lettering and composition and had a passing thought of getting to work with him someday, somehow. As Sentimental Creatures was being developed, I knew it needed killer album art. I reached out to Doc Reed and was thrilled when he agreed to get involved.
It didn't take much for Doc and I to get on the same page. He spent time listening to the record, took the vague art vision I had and expressed it in his unique style. Doc's very first suggestion was - a wolf crying flowers. I loved the idea of using such a cool animal as the icon, and spent some time discovering how it would fit with the album.
Wolves sometimes get a bad rap spiritually, so I searched for something that would bring redemption to this beautiful creature. Immediately, I found this passage from Isaiah 11:
"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat…and the calf and the lion and a little child shall lead them…The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra…They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (click to read the whole passage)
In that one sentence it was settled: the wolf shall dwell with the lamb. This was significant to me for a number of reasons. Firstly, this passage is a beautiful picture of redemption. For a wild wolf to dwell with a lamb, it must first be redeemed. These verses speak of the "renewal of all things," the redemption of creation. Fittingly, the album is full of thoughts of the coming Kingdom, the new earth, the reign of peace when all creation will live in harmony.
Secondly, I love that the 2 animals at the top of this list of co-existing creatures are the WOLF and the LAMB. The wolf is beautiful, wild; designed for greatness but capable of savage behavior. The lamb is pure and simple and is the animal most often used in scripture to represent Jesus and his sacrifice that brought redemption. Lyrically, the only specific name I use for Jesus in this project is "The Lamb." So in view of what those two animals could represent, it is brilliantly beautiful to hear the promise that "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb."
If the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and if it must be redeemed to do so, it must have a moment of redemption. And that is what I think we are witnessing in this album art - a wolf crying flowers as it is redeemed.
A friend told me about a passage in a Max Lucado book, that paints a fictional picture of the start of the reign of King Jesus - A mother and child are hiding out in a cave to escape the wars. One morning following the final battle, the mother comes out to find her child surrounded by a pack of wolves. Filled with fear she runs toward them, only to find the child laughing, rolling around and playing as if with a pack of dogs - the reign of Peace had begun.
I am so grateful for art, music, and creative writing and the window they provide for us see into the glory that awaits us. Dare to believe that in the end, things really will be as good as you want them to be.