Moonlight, Strandgade 30,
Painting by Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916),
Painted between 1900–1906,
Oil on canvas
© Metropolitan Museum, New York
Proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand
Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:
‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
Reflection on the painting
Our Gospel reading today conveys a slight anxiety the disciples must have had when they were sent on their way by Jesus. They were asked to leave his side and go into the wide world doing their ministry. Up to that point they had been sheltered beneath his wing, but now the time had come to face the world on their own. At the end of our reading, Jesus gives them some pointers about whom they should preach to. But he also instructed them on what to preach: ‘to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
These are beautiful words, offering us an opportunity of obtain life in the kingdom of God. They open to us the door to us for entering the kingdom. The words ‘close at hand’ perhaps convey that this door may not be open for much longer and would one day be closed. When it closes, those who are in, are in; those who are out, are out. This gives us a sense of urgency to walk through the door and make our way to the kingdom of heaven. We cannot wait. The door to the kingdom of heaven is open now, so why wait to walk through it!
Our Panting by Danish artist Vilehm Hammershøi depicts the parlour in the artist’s apartment in Copenhagen. The room is empty: no chair, no carpet, no wall decorations can be seen. The gentle, soft moonlight is pouring through the window. But the door is closed. It may well be locked. Maybe it is too late to walk through that door towards the light? The door to the kingdom of heaven is still open. No time to waste: walk through it, now!
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What an admonishment Patrick; go through that door now! Why oh why do we hmm and haww???
I love this painting and all of Hammershoi’s enigmatic interiors. You can look at them for a l o n g time and still enjoy the mystery.
I like the window image with the moonlight very much.
? DIGITAL GREETINGS to uALL UR STELLAR MANIFIQUE PRESENTATION IS SIMPLY AWESOME BEST PART IS??THERE IS NO Obnoxious COOKIE ADS KUDOS TO MY GOD SQUAD (U) LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROWS ART DARLING?? #preach on?