The Sea of Ice,
Painted by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840),
Painted in 1824,
Oil on canvas
© Kunsthalle Hamburg

The Sea of Ice,
Painted by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840),
Painted in 1824,
Oil on canvas
© Kunsthalle Hamburg

Gospel of 27 May 2024

I am sending you out

Luke 10:1-9

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.”’

Reflection on the painting

Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium` (The Joy of the Gospel, 2013), underscores that every Christian is inherently a missionary by virtue of their Baptism and their personal encounter with the love of God in Christ. Beyond simply being close to Jesus and fostering a personal relationship with him, believers are called to actively spread the Good News. Therefore, each individual is commissioned as a missionary. In fact the same goes for the Church itself: she doesn't just have a mission, she IS a mission.

Being a missionary doesn't necessarily entail making grand gestures or statements. Rather, it's about bearing witness to Christ's love in our everyday interactions. It could be as simple as sharing a smile with a shopkeeper, offering a kind word to a bus driver, or even picking up litter in the park. On the latter point, looking after our planet is part of our Christian responsibility as well.

The statistics concerning our planet and global warming are undeniably concerning. As Christians, we bear a responsibility to care for the Earth, recognizing it as a precious gift entrusted to us by God. The degradation of our environment not only threatens the delicate balance of ecosystems but also poses significant risks to vulnerable communities around the world. In response to these challenges, it is imperative that we take concrete steps to mitigate climate change and preserve the beauty and diversity of God's creation for future generations.

Hence, I'd like to present a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, titled "The Sea of Ice," completed in 1824, which in my view is so apt for our reflection. It showcases Friedrich's commitment to portraying nature in all its magnificence. In our painting, icebergs are depicted towering over one another, evoking a cathedral-like atmosphere with their imposing presence. Amidst this icy landscape lies another poignant detail, however: a shipwreck, serving as a reminder of humanity's futile attempts to conquer the power of nature. In today's context, with the looming threat of global warming, this dynamic between human endeavor and nature's supremacy takes on even greater significance.

 

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Stephen Hutchinson
Member
Stephen Hutchinson
24 days ago

This is a beautiful painting indeed. I find all of Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings deeply spiritual. The tiny figures ( or in this case a shipwreck ) dwarfed by beautiful and enormous landscapes which take your breath away. The skies and landscapes are reminiscent of a Turner painting and evoke a feeling that for all man’s achievements, God is ultimately in control of our planet and its environment. We should respect our world and the beauty of nature with all its diversity of plants and animals, but at the same time never forget to acknowledge His glory, power and magnificence.

Andrew Bunting
Member
Andrew Bunting
24 days ago

Hmm I do not deny the climate is changing but I do question just how much we’re responsible for it. I fear the whole thing has become politically motivated and is being used by globalist forces to further their aims of a ‘great reset’ and some kind of world government – yet another attempt to create heaven on earth without God which, if they get their way, will no doubt create hell on earth as all such past attempts have. The mainstream media appear to be hell bent on pushing the anthropological global warming scenario but what they never point out is that we know there have been at least 2 other warming periods in the last 2000 years – one in Roman times when, apparently, citrus fruits and grapes were able to be grown successfully in the north of England – well as a northerner I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t grow well there today despite current warming so it must’ve been considerably warmer in Roman times. Then there was another one about a thousand years later in medieval times – at that time apparently crops grew on Greenland (presumably hence the name? – though today it’s covered in ice) and they kept animals there. The odd thing is that there were no cars or factories pushing out CO2 in either of those historical periods and nor were there anything like the number of people on the planet as there are today, yet still it got hotter (and then cooled again). This suggests that we humans do not have much to do with climate change. The climate is not a static system after all and has been changing since the earth began. Yet there is this big push now to blame it all on human activity and not only that, anyone who dares question the narrative gets called a ‘denier’ or is insulted or ridiculed or cancelled. This also makes me suspicious – why can’t we have an open debate about it and use intellectual arguments rather than insults ?? If it’s necessary to cancel opponents doesn’t that suggest that those who do the cancelling might be worried that the opponents are actually right and they fear the general public finding out that the opponents are right so best silence them??? As often happens, people resort to insults and other none-rational behaviour when they know their arguments don’t hold water. I suspect that after our current period of warming it’ll cool again as it did before. Whilst there are many things we humans are responsible for such as filling the water courses and oceans with plastic and littering everywhere and being wasteful generally, I’m not convinced that climate change is one of them. From a Christian point of view, whilst I’m sure God does not want us to be wasteful or greedy, He did command us to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. I recognise that the latter does not give us licence to be reckless, but surely God, knowing that one day there’d be 8 billion or more people on the planet once we had multiplied, created it with an eco-system sufficiently robust to cope with legitimate human activity such as generating electricity to heat our homes and keep warm in winter or even to have machinery to relieve the drudgery of excessive manual work. If we listened to some of the rather more extreme environmentalists they’d have us all back living in caves. Indeed there are some who advocate the reduction of human population to about 500 million. Well, without reliable sources of energy (and ‘green’ energy is not best known for its reliability) it’s likely that far more people would die of cold or hunger than are likely to die if we continue using more reliable sources of energy; so perhaps if we continue following the (suicidal??) net zero agenda the population-control advocates will finally get their wish of a much reduced world population!

Phillip Ely
Member
Phillip Ely
23 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Bunting

The push for such things as heat pumps and electric cars may well be politically motivated. The environmental costs of manufacture of both completely outweigh the benefits in use.
Does the UK seem crowded to you? It may be an allusion. In 1950 there were approximately 50 million people living here but today only 70 million yet it seems far more.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
24 days ago

What a striking painting, dramatically lit, to the point of theatricality. Nature can be cruel and violent to mere humankind, as here where a ship has been crushed and wrecked, with very little remaining.
We wander into nature at our peril. And the disciples were sent out into potential danger, as lambs among wolves. I’m struck by Jesus’ instruction not to greet anyone on the road – how odd…
As for Christians being involved in ‘saving the planet’, how not, if it’s God’s creation? Though clearly we are not alone in this mission. For me the good news of our salvation is something that spreads out into the whole of our life on earth.
Brain about to close down for the evening, so good night everyone, God bless.

Jan-Ko Hab-Jan
Member
Jan-Ko Hab-Jan
24 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

…(…)…wie seltsam…? weil ich’s grad im #Speicher hab’ DIES : ===>…(…)…kennt Ihr Oliver Zielinski❓ …er schrieb am 23/0723 u.a.dies…

Missbrauch der Nächstenliebe

Wir leben in einer völlig verrückten Zeit. Es ist ja schon schlimm genug, dass man erkennen muss, dass die Liebe gegen den Nächsten oft nicht geübt wird. Heutzutage ist es aber noch viel schlimmer: Die von Gott geforderte Nächstenliebe wird immer mehr missbraucht; sie wird herangezogen, um jeden Menschen zu zwingen, jegliche Lebensweise anzuerkennen. Die prominentesten Beispiele sind LGBTQ und Abtreibung. Hieran ist erkennbar, wie sehr der Widersacher die Welt kontrolliert.

Wir sollen in Nächstenliebe handeln, aber nicht so, dass wir Gottes Anweisungen missachten. Gott sagt ganz deutlich, dass Homosexualität verboten ist. Ebenfalls sagt er gleich zu Beginn, dass der Mensch als Mann und Frau geschaffen wurde. Damit ist klar, dass alles, wofür LGBTQ steht, gegen Gottes Willen ist. Daher ist es ein Missbrauch der Nächstenliebe, dieses böse Verhalten gutzuheißen, zu fördern und mehr und mehr zu etablieren.

„Denn alle Schrift, von Gott eingegeben, ist nütze zur Lehre, zur Zurechtweisung, zur Besserung, zur Erziehung in der Gerechtigkeit, daß der Mensch Gottes vollkommen sei, zu allem guten Werk geschickt.“
(2. Tim. 3,16:17)

So handeln wir in der Liebe, wenn wir den Nächsten auch in dieser Sache nicht richten, aber zurechtweisen. Verfehlungen dürfen und müssen auch als solche benannt werden, unabhängig davon, was die Welt darüber denkt. Wer seinen Nächsten zurechtweist, rettet ihm vielleicht sein Leben, tut man das aber nicht, so sieht man zu wie dieser in die Irre geht.

Genauso ist es mit dem Töten ungeborener Kinder, was verharmlosend als Schwangerschaftsabbruch oder Abtreibung bezeichnet wird. Dein Nächster sucht sich dich aus, du nicht ihn. Was ist denn das ungeborene Kind anderes als der Nächste der Frau, die es in sich trägt? Wird dieses Kind nun „abgetrieben“, handelt man nicht in der Liebe gegenüber seinen Nächsten. Wenn die werdende Mutter das tut, was oben beschrieben ist, nämlich sich die Frage stellt, was ihr Nächster, also das Kind sich wünscht und bei der Beantwortung dieser Frage ehrlich ist, dann kann sie nur zu dem Schluss kommen, dass das Kind gerne leben möchte. Es ist doch wohl kaum davon auszugehen, dass das Kind gerne sterben möchte. Mit einer „Abtreibung“ verstößt man also gegen das Liebesgebot. Das sollte eigentlich reichen, um davon Abstand zu nehmen und die damit verbundenen Probleme anders zu lösen. Wem das nicht reicht, dem sei gesagt, dass er aber auch gegen das Gebot verstößt, nicht zu töten.

Jetzt wird auch klar, warum Jesus dem Liebesgebot eine so hohe Stellung einräumt. Denn so wie er sagt, sind auch alle Gebote erfüllt, wenn das Gebot der Nächstenliebe erfüllt wird. Wer seinen Nächsten liebt, der wird ihn nicht bestehlen und nicht töten, und auch alles andere Verbotene nicht an ihm tun. Klar wird auch, warum er sagt, dass derjenige nicht das Reich Gottes ererben wird, der beispielsweise Frau und Kinder mehr liebt als Gott. Denn Gott hat uns alles gegeben, auch das Leben. Wie können wir also einen anderen mehr lieben als ihn?

Die Nächstenliebe ist ein so großes Thema, dass ein solcher Artikel dafür nur zu kurz sein kann. Ich hoffe aber, dennoch einen guten Einblick darüber gegeben zu haben, was damit von uns gefordert ist.❣️❣️❣️🙏- hilft – 🙏

MfG Jan-Ko😎

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