The mission of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church is to love, welcome, nurture, and serve all people
by following the example of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Christ in the Wilderness

The work of sacred art being featured in our sanctuary during this Lent is “Christ in the Wilderness,” by the Russian artist Ivan Kramskoi (1837-1887).
Looking at the image, it is interesting to consider whether this is Jesus at sunrise after a long night of struggle to survive, out among the “wild beasts” as the Gospel of Mark says; or if it is Jesus at sunset, at the end of one of those hot, lonely, hungry and thirsty forty days. The tired humanity in Kramskoi’s portrait of Jesus is still startling. How much more so for Russians of a century and a half in the past, who were used to seeing icons of a magisterial Christ seated on a throne, and not a sun-bleached crag of rock?

In this Lenten season, it is worth considering the cost of Jesus’ ministry to himself; and the strength of endurance required of him to do what he did for us. May this encourage you and give you stamina during the dryness of your own days in the spiritual wilderness.

Lisa Bellan-Boyer, Parish Iconographer

St. Matthew's gospel account of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-ll).

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