March 21

Who will show her mercy?

This painting by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri offers us a gorgeous depiction of the story of the woman caught in adultery. The woman is saved from being stoned to death by Jesus’ words, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Shame, accusation, mercy, judgment […]

March 05

“I am in Torment Within…”

Consider the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. Imagine preaching to people for 40 years but no one listens. Imagine constantly encouraging a nation to act but no one moves. Jeremiah was thrown into prison, into a cistern, and into poverty. He was under house arrest, public torture, and witnessed the burning of his books. No matter […]

February 19

Oops.

In 2012, a Catholic church in the village of Borja in northeast Spain suspected someone had broken in and vandalized one of their 19th century frescos. The fresco in question is a traditional Catholic icon, Ecce Homo, which is Latin for “Behold the man,” the phrase uttered by Pilate when he presents Jesus to the […]

February 12

How Can This Be?

Caravaggio is one of my favorite artists. I have a book of his complete works and I never tire from looking at them. This painting is called the Deposition (meaning “burial” in this context) and is considered one of Caravaggio’s greatest masterpieces. It was painted around 1435 and currently hangs in the Vatican Museum. Caravaggio does […]

February 05

In the Bleak Midwinter

How cruel of me to choose a painting entitled, The Stormy Blast, on a day when the high temperature in the upper Midwest is forecast to be 5 degrees followed by days of subzero temperatures. As payback, our furnace went out this morning, but we are blessed to have alternative ways to heat the house. […]

January 29

What a Testimony

In Acts 7, we find the story of the church’s first martyr, Saint Stephen. He had confronted the religious elite of the day, calling them a stiff-necked people who resisted the Holy Spirit. They didn’t care for this much and ordered him stoned to death. This scene has been painted by many of the Masters. […]

January 22

Days of Summer

About this time or year, I start to long for summer. Even though this winter has not been too bad weather-wise, January tends to be a gray month. To give us all a little taste of warmer weather, I am sharing this painting titled, Summer Day at Skagen South Beach. From the late 1870s until […]

January 08

When Life Runs Dry

In John 2, we find the story of Jesus’ first miracle: turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. His mother, Mary, explains the situation to him. “They have no wine.” And Jesus acts. Spiritually speaking, Mary may be naming a truth we feel at times. For all of us, there comes a day […]

January 06

Eternity Swings on this Moment

Not many artists depict the Christmas story through the eyes of Joseph, but French Baroque painter, Philippe de Champaigne, does just that. Notice the carpentry tools under Joseph’s chair, where he has fallen into a deep sleep. As the story is told in Matthew, Joseph learns that Mary is pregnant and decides to divorce her […]

December 13

Alone but Not Lonely

When I came across this painting, I thought it was an appropriate image for the time we are in. Loneliness has become amplified during this time of social distancing and isolation. As winter starts to close in and we enter a darker season with shorter days, it can be hard to be alone. I was […]