Icon of John the Baptist

I love the icon of John the Baptist by Abraham the Scribe. I think the original was around 18th century. I also love the icon of Jonah being spat out by the whale. There’s a rawness to John and Jonah that I really love.

I think John is an interesting figure in that he announced Jesus’ coming even in his mother’s womb. I interpret this icon as John’s faithfulness to live out his calling, when he could see with his gift of prophecy that doing so would cost him his head.

I’ve always been curious what the scroll says in Arabic, if you can read it please translate it for me. Thanks.

As a funny aside, the angel’s outfit reminds me of traditional Korean clothes (hanbok).

Lenten Reflection: Jesus that Laughs

Painted in 2011, eunsung kim

 “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:21.

 As a boy growing up in the church, the Season of Lent was always a serious time.  A time to roll up your sleeves and really delve into your faith, and commit to deepening my faith with God.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up message that being a follower of Christ means being austere and serious, I make a sacrifice to give up things that are holding me from fully trusting in God.  While, some of the messages I picked up as a child about faith was true; a lot of my journey of deepening my faith in God has been to discard old ideas, and be willing to experience a God, beyond my limited understanding, here and now midst my own joys and sufferings.

I always thought Jesus was so serious, but I now imagine him being someone with profound joy and capacity for laughter that cuts through the heart of the matter.  My own experience has been that often the folks that have experienced the most profound suffering and sorrow have a great capacity to love, and to embrace moments of joy when they appear in our lives.  When Christ tells us that “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh;” Jesus is not only speaking to us who grieve and journey through loss, but his blessing includes himself.  Jesus knows firsthand what it is like to carry deep sorrow, and pain; we too feel overwhelmed and burdened by the responsibility of life, and walk sometimes with very heavy steps.

However, Jesus kept moving forward, even though he knew where the road would lead him.  He continued to do the work of the Father, kept teaching his often thick headed disciples, and kept on loving the people in his life.  Jesus touched, healed, laughed, cried, and shared life with the lepers, the forgotten, and despised people of his time and culture.

We do not have to weep, because our journey does not end in the cross.  We believe in a Risen Christ, and know in our hearts joyful tears knowing Christ has risen, and our weeping can truly be transformed into joyous laughter.  It is hard in the midst of grief to see what lies ahead, but remember friends you are not alone, Jesus who knows your inner most pain walks with you.

 Prayer

O Jesus, be with us as we walk through the joys and pains of life.  May our weeping be transformed into laughter: a deep knowing laughter of your strength and love.  Amen.