“She began to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears, and she dried them with her hair, kissing them many times…“ Luke 7:38
Morning Coffee with Barry Stebbing
VII: Women & Christ
Lamentation (close-up) by Giotto
A generalization means to give an overall summation of something that is somewhat true. For example, generally speaking, people like ice cream. And so with today’s topic, I would like to expound on the merits of the pure, uninhibited nature of women who have come to Christ. Possibly it is part of their intuition. Then again, could it be that women are less proud and find it tend to be humble? Whatever the reason, it is an interesting study to see how women gravitate to Christ. There are many examples of this in the New Testament, such as the woman who strived to touch His robe in a crowd, the woman who bathed His feet with her tears and precious oils, the woman who begged for the crumbs off the table, the widow who gave her all her last two mites, the grieving women at the foot of the cross, and those who anointed Him after the crucifixion. These are but a few examples of the adoration that women have for Christ. The painting above is Giotto’s Lamentation. The overwhelming broken heartedness on the face of Mary says it all. The entire painting (below) exemplifies this adoration as they encircle Him like a wreath of bereavement.
Lamentation by Giotto
On the other had, men (generally speaking) are quite reserved, distant, skeptical, logical and proud; having to think matters out, especially when it comes to something so profound as bowing down to Christ, believing Him to be the Son of God. Most remain “stiff kneed” and at a distance. Notice that this too, is suggested in Lamentation as the men stand to the side.
He Was One of Us Illustrated by Rien Poortvliet
The great Dutch illustrator, Rien Poortvliet filled the book He Was One of Us, with excellent illustrations on the life of Christ. On the front cover (above) he masterfully expresses the skepticism of man when considering Jesus as the Messiah. However, let us not overlook the great men who have set a paramount example for others in their passion for Christ such as Paul of Tarsus, great Evangelists of the past, and most recently Billy Graham. Though, generally speaking, it has been the women who have flocked to Jesus with that pure, unquestionable love. Women also seem more defenseless. More vulnerable to the ways of the world, their desire is to trust. When they find this in Christ, they embrace Him with open arms. Jesus says, “Unless you have the faith of a child you shall not enter the kingdom of God.” Could this not also be said of women? During ancient times women were treated as secondary citizens during, however, Jesus treated them with kindness and respect. Generally speaking, it might be good for men to follow this example in their own marriages along with praying for a submissiveness to such a One as Christ.
Illustration by Rien Poortvliet
“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” John 19:25
Art History Tid-Bit: Giotto was one of the earliest artists of the Renaissance (1267-1337). Before his time, figures were elongated and lacked emotion. There was also no depth or scenery behind them. He would be known as the first painter to put feelings into the faces of his figures. He also added landscapes to the backgrounds to make for a more theatric setting. Giotto is known as the father of modern painting.
The Dutch painter Rien Poortvliet was a paramount illustrator during the latter part of the 20th century, comparable to Norman Rockwell in this country. He could prove to be an excellent study.
Coffee Memo: By the early 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe. It’s bitter taste led some in the Church to believe it was of Satan. The controversy became so great that Pope Clement VIII decided to be the final say on the matter. Sampling this aromatic drink from the mid-East he found it to be delightful, so much so that he gave it his full approval. In only a matter of two decades, several hundred coffee houses would open their doors in London alone.