May 22, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Revelation 21:10,22 – 22:5
John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9
I am learning that for many serious European artists from the Renaissance and forward, it was a crowning achievement to complete a set of works depicting the Book of Revelation. This is true of the French engraver, Jean Duvet who produced 23 Apocalypse engravings sometime around 1855. In the opening image, Duvet portrays Revelation author John as himself, now an old man who tiredly rests his head on his hand and points to the completed book on the table in front of him. An inscription on this plate reads: The Fates are pressing, already sight fails, the mind remains victorious, and the great work is completed.
Duvet’s engraving corresponding to the Revelation passage from today’s lectionary reading depicts God on the throne atop the buildings of the New Jerusalem. God, depicted here as an older man, holds a large disk bearing the Lamb/Christ’s image. Saints and elders occupy the space surrounding the throne. We see the river emerge from under God’s garments, flow into a large rectangular pool and then out through an arch below the city filling an even larger area from which the tree of life grows up. John and the angel appear in the foreground frozen in an moment of urgency and excitement. Garments and hair billow as if there is a strong wind. While Duvet’s style clearly reflects Renaissance influence, there is a pleasing symmetry along with a skewed perspective to entire composition. This is more in keeping with Christian icon art which purposely flattens a scene to indicate a reality beyond the familiar earthly realm.
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?
Jesus: Anyone who loves Me will listen to My voice and obey. The Father will love him, and We will draw close to him and make a dwelling place within him. My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. — John 14:23,27