April 24, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Psalm 118:14-29 or Psalm 150
“Faith may, will, and must have its images!” – Martin Luther
I had an amazing experience in a small art gallery in Sarajevo, Bosnia many years ago. I was most interested in purchasing some etchings at the gallery. This apparently impressed owner as most clients gravitate towards larger paintings to fill up wall space in their home or apartment. Etchings, often much smaller, are meticulous and time consuming to create, but they can contain wonderful detail. After viewing and selecting two etchings to purchase, the man said he had something special to show me. He went to his storage room and emerged with a very old, very large book – no doubt an original edition. It was a volume of what is known as Raphael’s Bible — etchings made from the Vatican ceiling fresco designs of Renaissance artist, Raphael. I remember carefully turning the pages with trembling hands and looking over each page in awe. That rare opportunity was the start of my interest in illustrated Bibles (something I wish we would see a revival of today).
Our image this week comes from the Picture Bible of Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld and was featured at the opening of the Book of Revelation. This German Luther Bible was published from 1852-1860 and an English edition became available in 1861. Schnorr von Carolsfeld was part of a revival group of artists who emulated the work of Renaissance masters. Schnorr von Carolsfeld’s Picture Bible aimed to replace text with image rather than simply provide illustrations. These etchings were compared to and critiqued against Raphael’s Bible, long considered the standard of excellence.
Practicing Visio Divina:
- View the artwork
What do you see?
Note shapes – color – style – movement
What stands out for you?
What are you curious about?
What questions do you have?
Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
- Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
What connections do you make?
Between the image and text?
What is coming to mind from your own experience?
What feelings are rising in you?
Are you uncomfortable with something?
There are no right or wrong answers
- Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
What do you hear?
What is God saying to you?
What do you wish to speak to God?
What blessing or prayer is rising in you?
I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the very beginning and the very end,] the One who is, the One who was, and the One who is coming: the All Powerful. — Revelation 1:8