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Showing posts from March, 2017

Worship Helps for Lent 5

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The Raising of Lazarus Sebastiano del Piombo 1519
Sebastiano completed the painting in January 1519 and it was immediately hailed as an artistic triumph. Michelangelo Buonarroti befriended Sebastiano, and he became one of the rare and trusted friends of Michelangelo. The friendship, however, drew Sebastiano into the long running rivalry between Raphael Sanzio.
Cardinal Guilio de’Medici had commissioned Raphael to create a large altarpiece depicting “Christ’s Transfiguration” for the cathedral in Narbonne. The Cardinal also commissioned Sebastiano to create “The Raising of Lazarus” as a large altarpiece for Narbonne’s cathedral. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to commission two paintings for the same cathedral, but many believe today – and in the 1500s – that the cardinal was pitting the two artists against each other. The Cardinal, of course, was well aware of the artistic rivalry between Michelangelo and Raphael. Michelangelo was very willing to lend Sebastiano a hand with the work by su…

God saves humanity by sending an embryo

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Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabrielto Nazareth,a town in Galilee,27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph,a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdomwill never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you,and the power of the Most Highwill overshadow you. So the holy oneto be born will be calledthe Son …

The Annunciation

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The mother snake will lay her fertilized eggs in the nest and then abandon them, never to return. Baby snakes hatch with the ability to take care of themselves. The mother alligator will remain with her young alligators for up to a year. She protects them from would-be-predators up to a year. Many animals hunt alligator hatchlings, but few are bold enough to mess with them when Momma is near. A newborn elephant is able to wobble to his feet an hour after birth to enjoy his first drink of his mother’s milk. The elephant herd will give the calf a few days to rally his strength; but elephants need a lot of food and they need to keep moving to get enough. The baby elephant walks under his mother, who seldom loses physical contact, helping the little one to his feet if he falls, carrying him over obstacles. If he gets lost and squeals, not only the mother, but the entire heard will rush to his aid. A baby gorilla weighs about four to five pounds at birth, but matures quickly. Even at one-day-…

Christ healing the blind

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Christ Healing the Blind Artist:Doménikos Theotokópoulos Date: ca. 1570 The disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” How many of you, when things go south in the life of someone close to you, wonder what that person did to make God angry? How many of you, when things go south in your own life, turn your eyes to heaven and ask God, “Why am I being punished?” This is how people thought in Jesus’ day. In our day, it is a conclusion that we often jump to very quickly, as well. If someone suffers a tragic accident or lingers in an illness, then God must be punishing them for some specific sin, right? We jump to this kind of conclusion because we want to have an answer for suffering. If any of you have spent any time with a suffering friend, you know how difficult it is to remain in their presence without trying to figure out the reason for their suffering. You know how excruciating it is to sit with your friend, who is in pain. You empathize wit…

Worship Helps for Lent 4

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Grunewald’s Painting – “the Crucifixion” Painted in the year 1515
Long before Mel Gibson brought the horror and brutality of Christ’s passion to the movie screen in “The Passion of the Christ,” Matthias Grunewald brought the horror and brutality of Christ’s passion to his altarpiece.
In order to understand “The Crucifixion” by Grunewald, you must first understand the background of this unique work of art.
“The Crucifixion,” which is part of the Isenheim Altarpiece was commissioned by the Antonites. The Antonites were a hospital order of medieval monks that devoted themselves to the care of people in the tiny hamlet of Isenheim. In the 1500s, that care consisted primarily of treating patients who were afflicted with a terrible skin disease called “St. Anthony’s fire,” or ergotism, which was caused by rye fungus. This disease caused serious convulsive symptoms including painful seizures and spasms, as well as visible and painful pustules and open wounds.
The Antonites would construct tempo…