Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Christus Consolator

Covered by layers of discolored varnish and mold, this painting was found a couple of years ago in a church janitor's closet. Valued at $35,000, insurance and security for the painting were too expensive, so Gethsemane Lutheran Church, our neighbor in Dassel, donated it to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It is now restored and framed as you see above. You can read the StarTribune story here.

This beautiful piece of art was painted in 1851. It depicts Jesus Christ comforting oppressed people including Greek and Polish freedom fighters, homeless peasants, impoverished women and a black slave in chains.

Our Lord continues to comfort those in trouble and danger, often inspiring us to reach out in his name. We need never be alone with our sorrows. Like in the painting, our Lord invites all who are sorrowing or carrying heavy burdens to come to him. We gather with all those in need, letting others know we are their brothers and sisters, each one equal before our Lord.

Tonight four more witnesses will humbly share at worship "What the Cross means to me." Certainly, he has borne our sorrows. As Isaiah says:
"He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed." Isaiah 53:3-5
Come to the Lord and know his consolation--given for you!

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