XV: Seek

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock… if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in.” Revelation 3:20

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Morning Coffee with Barry Stebbing

XV:  Seek

The Light of the World by Holman Hunt

Is that Christ knocking at the door?   The figure looks more like some mysterious feudal king.  An astute observer will also notice there is no handle on the door.   It is up to the individual within to open the latch to allow Jesus to enter.  The painting is titled The Light of the World, created by the English artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). The scripture for the painting is from Revelation 3:20 , Behold, I stand at the door and knock…         

Spiritually speaking, I would like to imagine that when this pandemic spread across the earth, God had a desire to remove the idols from our homes; be it sports, entertainment, travel or even the ability to go out of doors.  Could it be conceivable that this was done in the hope that man, removed from all his comforts, would desire to draw nearer to God?  With a major increase in depression and isolation, one would have the opportunity to take hold of the only panacea for our worldly concerns – opening the door wide to embrace the virtues, treasures and blessings of Jesus.  Should we not all be running to that door exclaiming, Who’s that knocking at the door?  Tis the Raven.  Nevermore!  No, no!  It is the King, the King of glory, The Lord strong and mighty… lift up your heads that the King of glory may enter!

Ophelia  by John Everett Millais        

William Holman Hunt belonged to a small group of artists that lived in England during the height of the Victorian Era. Originally banning together to glorify God, they called themselves The Brotherhood.  However, they soon veered from this purpose, becoming more worldly and taking on the name Pre-Raphaelites (meaning a more natural type of painting before the time of Raphael.) Ophelia (above)was painted by John Everett Millais. The setting is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and exemplifies their wonderful style with vivid colors, articulate detail and staying true to the dictates of nature. 

Through it all, Holman Hunt would be the only one who remained true to the cause, doing Godly artwork and spending much of his time painting in Jerusalem.   I still wonder where he found his model for the countenance of Christ?  As an artist, he most assuredly had the liberty to depict Him any way he liked, just as countless masters had done throughout the pages of art history.       

Though most of us don’t recognize Hunt’s Jesus, it wasn’t so in the early 1900s, as this image of the crowned Jesus was world renown.  Hunt actually did three versions of the painting.  The last was rather large and  purchased by a wealthy businessman who toured the world exhibiting the masterpiece.  It is  said that nearly 80% of the Australians queued to see it.         

It seems like such an irony, doesn’t it?  To line up, waiting for hours to see a painting of Christ, and yet having no desire to open the door of one’s heart to Him.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to believe that one day the world will line up in such a queue, waiting excitedly for Jesus to truly come knocking at the door?  

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When you have nothing left but God, then for the first time you become aware that God is enough.”                                                                                                                                Maude Royden

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Art History Tid-Bit:  There was another group of artists whose desire was to glorify God in their artwork.  The were from Germany during an earlier part of the 19th century and called themselves The Nazarenes.  For several years they relocated to Italy and used an old convent for a studio, staying true to their purpose to the end.

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Coffee Memo:  Did you know that a French roast coffee has less caffeine in it, as much of it is burnt out during roasting.  Therefore a dark roasted coffee settles well and will not give one headaches or acidic stomachs.  

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