Tag Archives: rembrandt

prayer, listening

2 Jun

6 “He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 6:6

Jesus returns to his home town. People question his origins; his family history; his life. They question, question without listening. Without seeing. And Jesus can do very, little. …

6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 ‘Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.’

Somehow miraculously-‘‘how’ -our belief, my faith, works, works with His power and as I feel, believe, listen and pray, healing miracles come.

But I daily forget this. I forget when I am tired; overwork; too happy; too despairing. In other words when I fill with myself and not Jesus.

Simply, I need to pray the, my Jesus prayer: – “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

His sinner; and my Lord listens.

I need to pray this Jesus prayer and fill me self with his name, over and over, and then wait. Listen. And wait.

Mark 6 continues with the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on water during the storm to calm the sea and his disciples fears. Entering their boat, they look at Jesus and are …

‘…completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.’

53 ‘when they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.’

Jesus does not leave them. They walk with Jesus and … wait. Wait, see and listen.

Hard hearts and eyes melt, reform, open.

Seeing Jesus, closing my eyes, ( perhaps as the disciples? ) I can open my heart and listen. Listen, pray.

Advent 2021, ‘he comes’ an epilogue from Mark 15, “…come down from the cross and save yourself!”

20 Dec
Rembrandt ‘Christ on the Cross’ 1631

As we enter Christmas week 2021, I am both returning to the roots of my first ‘Advent Wonder’ 2014 reflections and reversing, turning over in part, these first starts. From the beginning the thought was to build a short, concise yet deepening thought on Advent over a four week period, twice a week. Focused on brevity as people are quite busy during this season, we opened the week on Mondays and closed the week on Fridays with these reflections.

This year I opened Mondays with Old Testament scriptures concerning the Messiah’s coming ( the 2021 series is entitled ‘his coming’ ) and closed Fridays with a corresponding New Testament scripture that contained and deepen Monday’s share.

So, this week of Christmas 2021, I will keep the focused brevity but share the New Testament Messianic words on Monday and the corresponding Old Testament one on Friday. Why?
Because this week He is no longer ‘coming’ but Jesus is here, He comes. So, we go today, not to a manger but to Jesus on the cross…

29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The last prayers of Jesus’ torturers, his murders is for Him to ‘come down.’
Praying, looking, pleading for a Messiah to come for hundreds of years, without a touch of self awareness and knowledge, they repeat this prayer for Jesus ‘to come.’ But they want him to ‘come down.’ They want a Jesus that fits their preconceived ideas of a Messiah. They say they want ‘to see’ but they are blind.

Blind to the fact that their, our, Messiah has come to a cross, by way of a manger, for all. He walked, ate, taught and spoke with them. He prayed for them. Yet, they still prayed for Him to ‘come down.’

Sadly, they do not see.

He comes, but some cannot see. Sadly, they see not.

My prayer: Lord, my Jesus, help me to see you, more and more, all days. Let me see you more. Come.

rembrandt, hands

25 Nov

Rembrandt: The Late Works



In the last room of the National Gallery’s ‘Rembrandt, The Last Works’ is his painting of Joseph, Potihar and Potiphar’s wife.

Joseph listens as she speak to her husband her story of ‘sport’ and betrayal. Their conversation is at the center of the painting. Off to the left Joseph in a corner prays. His left hand is raised, open, to heaven. Light comes to the curtain. It can only be His light.


Why did Rembrandt paint Joseph, Simeon and Lucretia with open hands?

All are in pray; asking for blessing; no longer waiting.

They are painting, painting with, in,  prayers.