Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nativity Polyptych

Nativity Polyptych
Oil on canvas
90 x 120 cm 
The Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art at  Oxford Brookes University 

For more about the fascinating collection, see The Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art 

The artist said of this work:
"Every scene was more or less wrung out of me by experience. It was as if the subject matter imposed itself on me. My wife, my father, my mother, my sister, my friends and children all come into these little paintings, as did my spiritual life and my horror of war."

In addition you might like to read his interesting comments on the works contained in The Methodist Art Collection which is in the form of a .pdf file here

We are apparently entering the season of peace and goodwill, two overworked words which in the commercial run up to Christmas are in danger of losing their proper meaning in the general confusion and hubbub

Pope Benedict XVI in his Post Synodal Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente spoke of the meaning of the word peace while on his recent trip to the Middle East:

"9. For the sacred Scriptures, peace is not simply a pact or a treaty which ensures a tranquil life, nor can its definition be reduced to the mere absence of war.  
According to its Hebrew etymology, peace means being complete and intact, restored to wholeness.  
It is the state of those who live in harmony with God and with themselves, with others and with nature. Before appearing outwardly, peace is interior. It is blessing. It is the yearning for a reality.  
Peace is something so desirable that it has become a greeting in the Middle East (cf. Jn 20:19; 1 Pet 5:14).  
Peace is justice (cf. Is 32:17); Saint James in his Letter adds that “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (3:18). The struggle of the Prophets and the reflections of the Wisdom authors were inspired by the hope of eschatological peace.  
It is towards this authentic peace in God that Christ leads us. He alone is its gate (Jn 10:9). This is the sole gate that Christians wish to enter. 
10. Only by beginning with conversion to God, and by showing forgiveness to those close at hand and in the wider community, will the just respond to Christ’s invitation to become “children of God” (cf. Mt 5:9).  
Only the meek will delight in boundless peace (cf. Ps 37:11). In offering us a life of communion with God, Jesus creates true fraternity, not the fraternity marred by sin 
. “For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). 
Christians know that the earthly politics of peace will only be effective if justice in God and justice among men and women are its authentic basis, and if this same justice battles against the sin which is at the origin of division. 
For this reason, the Church wishes to overcome every difference of race, sex and social condition (cf. Gal 3:28 and Col 3:11) in the knowledge that all are one in Christ, who is all in all "