Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Contemplations on the Gospel by Roger Lowther

“Christ as Savior and Judge” was painted around 1450 by Petrus Christus in order to meditate on the gospel. Just over four inches high, this tiny painting grabs your attention with a halo shooting from Christ’s head like fireworks and the provocative display of Christ’s wounds. Set like a theater, it portrays Christ as the lead character, taking center stage in the story of life. Two angels in the background look our way from the curtain. One is holding the sword of judgement, a reminder that having been driven out of the garden of intimacy with God, someone would have to be cut down in order to restore the relationship. The other holds the lilies of mercy, nicknamed the “white robed apostles of hope.” They are frequently used in weddings to symbolize purity and life. Shaped like large trumpets, they are also used as symbols of Easter heralding the resurrection. The symbolism of Easter lilies goes even deeper when you consider their beginnings as small dirty bulbs that look like trash to the untrained eye. Planted in the ground, these tomb-like pieces burst forth from the ground with beauty and majesty. Christ standing in front of both holds his hand in front of the sword of judgement to show the cause of His wounds. The light source shining from the left and the gentle nod of Christ’s head towards the lilies encourage us to accept His sacrifice of mercy and to accept Him.

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