In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

He Will Swallow Up Death in Victory

HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE! May this beautiful day fill your heart with joy, and portend the coming of that miraculous day when tears will be wiped away from all faces, forever.

Just this weekend I discovered something beautiful--learning, praise God, never ceases! While looking for artwork with which to adorn an Easter post, I stumbled upon some of the most moving depictions of Christ's life I've ever seen. They're by the Danish artist Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834 – 1890), whose complete works can be viewed here and here. He was commissioned to do 23 new paintings illustrating the life of Christ for the King's Praying Chamber at Frederiksborg Castle Chapel in his native Denmark. Bloch spent the next 14 years on the project, after which he came to be recognized as "perhaps the greatest artist ever to interpret the life and death of Christ."

I've chosen three of his works to illuminate the Easter story, and have paired them with selections from Scripture conveying the significance of the miraculous events shown. The first is a detail from a larger work (which you can see in full here) depicting an angel comforting Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Every time I look at it I'm moved to tears; no better depiction of love and faithfulness has ever been wrought, and it reminds me so poignantly of our Savior's unimaginable suffering as He took upon Himself the staggering weight of all mankind's sins, so that we might live (and how great a being must have been that angel, to be chosen the Lord's comforter in that terrible hour?). The other two works speak for themselves, and are just as powerful.

The Fleming Family wishes you all the happiest and most blessed Easter!

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. ~ Luke 22:41-44
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:4-5

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces . . . ~ Isaiah 25:8

1 comment:

It's A Wonderful said...

Happy Easter, Flemings!

I came by your blog yesterday for an art link, but because I waited till the last minute (as usual), I wasn't able to find artwork that moved me. But these do, especially the angel. How beautiful. I often think how little we really know of Jesus. Things like his humor, his laughter, time spent playing with the children or teasing his disciples. Those are the times I want to see, should I make it to heaven. There is so much more of what we don't know of Him, than what we do know. It's like Father Park told us on Good Friday, death is the completeness of life. We won't have experienced total life until our death. I never thought of that...of course, I'm not a preist, how would I have ever conceived of that?

Can't wait to see you, only a few more days!