Daily Devotion Tuesday 9th April 2024

Tuesday 9th April 2024  Nativity by Judith Tutin 
 

image used with kind permission of Judith Tutin

Information

Judith Tutin is an Irish-born artist living in Cornwall. She works in oil painting and cyanotype photography.  Judith’s work explores abstract and semi-abstract representations of light sources, spiritual experiences and nature’s effect on surfaces. Strongly influenced by Italian Catholic art history and 20th century colour field painting, Judith creates elemental textures, ethereal light and a sense of the eternal in her work.  Nativity is a semi-abstract depiction of the Christmas story.  The figures are barely visible but if you look you can see Jesus asleep in the manger, Mary’s hands clasped in prayer, Joseph is an abstract shape on the left, above the picture God the Father looks down with arms open wide over Jesus on the Cross.  The combination of God the Father and the Crucified Jesus is an old image sometimes called the Mercy Seat.  https://www.judithtutinart.com/

Reading John 17:1-5

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,  since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.  So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

Reflection

Simply gaze in wonder and marvel through this painting. Here the resplendent glory of God’s presence comes to us through the birth of baby Jesus, with his family around him and visitors gazing on. Here is God’s presence most glorious through Jesus’ death on the cross.  Yet there is so much more, with the image of Almighty God’s loving arms coming from heaven to embrace the dying son. It is shocking, unbelievable, beyond our understanding – that God’s presence, Loveful   (I am beyond worrying about making words up), for as the hymn writer says, “I scarce can take it in,” that all the Love that is God in heaven, is now with us all the time in our lives.
That glimpse of Almighty God embracing Jesus is called Mercy Seat for a reason – for that is the name given to the cover over the Ark of the Covenant, which held the tablets of God’s Word. The people saw this as the holy of holies, earthly home of Almighty God. It was covered with shining gold. Only few of the few could enter the holy place of God’s presence. Yet now we have Jesus, from heaven he came – with that same amazing glorious love of God but now offered to all and always. Jesus loves you so much, accepting you completely, forgiving you completely, and giving himself completely that you may live in the glory of God’s love forever.
And of that mercy seat, the writer of Hebrews wrote “Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now”.Hebrews 9:5. I love that he runs out of words, or it is too urgent to discuss. Simply now is the time to gaze on Jesus, and see the glory of God’s love for you and believe.

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:14)

Prayer

Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heav’n to earth come down,
fix in us Thy humble dwelling; all Thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love Thou art;
visit us with Thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.

Come, Almighty to deliver; let us all Thy life receive;
suddenly return and never, nevermore Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve Thee as Thy hosts above;
pray, and praise Thee without ceasing, glory in Thy perfect love.
 

(by Charles Wesley)

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Kevin Watson, retired minister, serving in Woodhouse Close Church, Bishop Auckland

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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