devozine

Spiritual Practice

STANDING WITH US

Darren Wright

I love walking around art museums. When I get the chance, I put together a playlist, stick in my headphones, and spend a couple of hours in the museum. There, I might bump into artworks like this one by Rembrandt.

Rembrandt van Rijn’s etching, Christ Preaching, does not depict a specific event, but rather an imagined scene. Rembrandt’s scene shows everyday people gathered around Jesus as he preaches. What do you notice about the people in the crowd?

Jesus stood with ordinary people—the poor, the rich, the injured, the beggar, the woman, the tax collector, the mother, the soldier, the criminal, the shepherd, the Canaanite, the Samaritan, the child, the rabbi, the hungry, the leper, the father, the orphan, the migrant, the priest.

Jesus stood with and walked among ordinary people, even people like you and me. Imagine yourself in this picture. Where would you want to be in the crowd? Who would be next to you?

Allow yourself to more fully enter the scene. What can you see from where you are? What smells, textures, or sounds do you notice? As Jesus speaks, how does his voice sound? What is he saying?

We might be tempted to romanticize the life of Jesus. Perhaps we’d like to believe that Jesus stood only with people he liked or people just like us—people of a particular age, gender, color, class, faith, or political persuasion. But artworks, such as this one by Rembrandt, can remind us that Jesus stood with diverse groups of people, calling them into community, challenging them to find peace and to love one another.

When you look around your church, do you see a diverse community living in peace? How well do you know the people with whom you sing, worship, and pray?

Take the time this year to stand with your community—the people in your church, school, and neighborhood. Get to know these people. What gifts do they possess? What do they hope for? What do they believe? How might you show each one the welcoming love of Christ.

 

DIG DEEPER

Print and cut out this picture of Jesus, and glue it in the center of a blank page. Over the next week collect pictures of people—those you see in the news as well as people you know. Trim out the backgrounds, and place the people around Jesus.

Take a look at the crowd you have created. Who is in the scene? What do you notice about the people you have collected? Did you include yourself? Who is missing? Is there someone else you would like to add?

Once you are satisfied with your crowd and your scene is complete, imagine Jesus preaching to this group. What might he say to our world today?

Pray that we might all have the faith to see Jesus standing with us. Pray that all people might hear his message of love and peace.

Darren Wright is the father of two, who spends lots of time searching for children’s music that doesn’t drive him crazy and limping around after he steps on toys left on the floor. Darren writes from Canberra, Australia, where he is in ministry with the Uniting Church of Australia.

Back To Home

To Order Devozine Magazine, call 1.800.972.0433.