Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April 23rd, 2016


John 6:16-21Walking on Water – A Reprise

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Henry Ossawa Tanner: The Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water

Henry Ossawa Tanner: The Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water

 A Favorite from May 23, 2008.

Back in January we looked at chapter 6 of John and reflected on his Bread of Life Discourse.  Today we are drawn back to this chapter, but now to the incident that is sandwiched between the act of the multiplication of the loaves and Jesus’ explanation of the Eucharist . . . Jesus walks on the water.

I am thinking of a painting I saw by Henry Tanner when it was on exhibit at the BMA . . . and I go in search of it.  The waters in this painting are calm, one the apostles stands toward the front of the boat . . . Jesus approaches from the left.

The painting is ethereal, with wisping stokes that evoke the spiritual experience these men are having.  They have witnessed the miraculous multiplication of bread yet do not see.  They will hear the explication of this miracle but will not fully understand.  They are fishing alone when the storm rises up and they fear for their lives . . . then they see Jesus walking toward them.

It is I.  Do not be afraid.

 Life has a way of pulling us into a vortex of activity without suggesting to us that we ought to reflect on our actions.  Storms rise suddenly, our little fishing boats are swamped . . . and a figure fluoresces just outside the periphery of our vision.  We turn to focus on it but we cannot see anything which we can readily identify . . . and so we go back to bailing.  I am wondering what might happen if we calm our fears and linger a bit with that fluorescence.  Would it come into a crisp image that might register on the retina long enough for us to believe?

It is I.  Do not be afraid.

Life has a way of making us feel as though everything is urgent, must be done by Friday, Monday, Tuesday.  Deadlines loom, our agenda overflows . . . and something beckons just off behind our shoulder.  We pause to listen to the faint humming, to wonder what it might be . . . we hear nothing that the ear recognizes . . . and we go back to phone calls, emails, messages that pile up on the desk.

It is I.  Do not be afraid.

We are afraid that the work will not be done, that the children will not be fed, that the gift will not be bought, the grass not mown, the laundry not washed.  We have an idea that time is linear, finite and within our control.

It is I.  Do not be afraid.

Jesus knows no time.  Jesus is.  Jesus was.  Jesus will be.  In the midst of our bailing, our counting, our working . . . we must pause to look and to listen.  We want to have ears that truly hear, eyes that truly see . . . because . . .

It is I.  Do not be afraid.

Tomorrow, seeking Jesus. 

For more on Henry Tanner, visit: http://www.britannica.com/biography/Henry-Ossawa-Tanner 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: