Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Advent - Day 25 - Merry Christmas

This painting by Cambiaso of the Virgin and Child with John the Baptist has the young John with a Lamb. When they both came to the time of their ministry, John would declare Jesus to be the Lamb of God, and here this is prefigured by this painting.

Consider the concept of God presenting Himself as a Lamb to the world, as you view this oil painting from 1550 on this Christmas Day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Advent - Day 24

Raphael's Alba Madonna shows Mary, the infant Jesus, and John the Baptist at a young age. John is handing Jesus a cross, which Jesus is accepting. Though the moment is not a real scriptural event, but rather a fantasy piece, it gives us a picture of the John's ministry, which will prepare the way for the Lord, and of Jesus acceptance of His ministry, which includes His sacrifice upon the cross.

Consider these aspects of the the Advent today: Christ was born to become our sacrifice and Savior.

Click on image for a larger picture.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Advent - Day 23

The humble beginnings of our Savior are illustrated well by this 16th century work entitled The Nativity by Corregio.

Can you recognize your need for humility in this season remembering the humble birth of our Savior? As you consider the humble surroundings of this painting recall your own need for humility.

Click on the image for a larger picture.

Advent - Day 22

In 1259 Pisano sculpted the marble pulpit at the baptistery at Pisa, and it includes the adoration of the magi giving their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts are said to symbolically and prophetically represent kingship, divinity and death. Perhaps more importantly for us to consider is the fact that they represent giving our best to God.

Consider this sculpting, and ask yourself if you have given your best to God. In a season of giving, we can easily forget giving to the One Who has given His all for us.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Advent - Day 21

The Adoration of the Magi:

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2)

His birth was prophesied even by the heavens themselves, and recognized by wise men who came from distant lands. There should be no distance too far, or mystery too deep which can hinder our search for God. The magi from far away lands model the search for God we should be willing to embark upon if necessary.

Consider this work of art by Gentile de Fabriano a 15th century Italian Gothic painter.

Click upon the picture for a larger image.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Advent - Day 20

Following the movement of art rather than that of scripture, I want to look at the Adoration of the Shepherds, a 15th century Flemish painting by Hugo Van Der Groes. Take some time to meditate on this moment of worship as it appears in this massive old painting.

The person of Jesus, Who is the Messianic promise, Who has come to save us is revealed to common shepherds. These same shepherds go to see the babe lying in the feeding trough. Each of us are the common people of this earth who have had the Messiah come to us as well. Contemplate this art and consider your place in worshiping Christ the Lord.

The painting comes in three panels and links to the three parts are listed below.

left panel
center panel
right panel

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent - Day 19

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to men." (Luke 2:9ff)

We, as people living in a materialistic world, often struggle with the concept of hearing, or experiencing God. The story of the Advent of Christ returns us to the primary place where God and man meet one another in intimate interaction. Heaven bursts upon the scene of this earthly drudgery to shine it's light upon us. Then the great treasure store of divine repository is revealed in a baby lying in a feeding trough.

Could it be that the angels sing about simple things, apparently mundane things in your life? In Christ is the greatest treasure of divinity revealed to humans, but within ourselves we are told that there is this "treasure in earthen vessels." Perhaps the angels sing about this too.

Consider this work of art by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, and meditate upon the vast goodness of the God found in Jesus, and deposited by faith in you as well - "Christ in you the hope of Glory." Click on the image for a larger picture.

18th Day of the Advent

In this last week as we come to Christmas I will be sending out a short devotional thought, and a link to devotional art each day. For Tuesday the 18th of December the verse for our consideration and meditation is this:

"And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2: 6-7)

Consider the birth of our Savior. It was not easy, or convenient. Laid in a feeding trough, because there was no other place for him, the Savior of mankind came to this earth in humble means. Later the struggle would increase as Herod would seek His death. The path of following God is not an easy path, but our way has been laid out before us by One who modeled living through the hard way for us. Our way certainly can not be as difficult as His.

This work of art by Boticelli is worth a long meditative look. At first glance it might appear peaceful, but as you look deeper into the painting you will find spiritual struggle all around the manger scene. Consider this aspect of our Lord's birth this 18 Day of Advent. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

No Services

There was no morning service. There will be no evening service today - December 16th either. The evil Nor'easter has battered us back into our homes! ;-)

See you on a better weather day.
Pastor Phil

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

YWAM Tragedy in Colorado

The YWAM Mission training center in Arvada Colorado experienced tragedy in the form of a shooting this week. The shooter then went on to visit a mega-church in Colorado Springs, killing two more people before being killed. The press release from the YWAM center can be found here.