Thursday, January 27, 2011

When standing quietly in a museum

When you look around the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam there are two styles of painting. There was one famous painting of the city's male elite that you could not fit into our living/dining room. There must have been starving artists around, but Rembrandt would have been jingling coins in his pocket.
About midlife the pictures grew darkened; Rembrandt became what we might call today a Mennonite. When I stood before a picture like "Christ Preaching," I felt like Moses at the burning bush; I wanted to take off my shoes and bow my face to the earth.
There would have been a lot of men to pose for that painting. Words like the Thirty Years War jump to mind. When we read about Shiite and Sunni blowing up each other while at prayer we Christians can only mumble, "Been there, done it."
When we study this man's face we cannot know what he sufferer, friends lost. We resonate with his sadness; we cannot know what orders he had obeyed. Perhaps the golden helmet was just a prop. I hunch it was an insight, a knowing of hope beyond sight that faith can bring.

No comments:

Post a Comment