Sunday, June 14, 2009

God's Word Never Fails

Alice C. Linsley

John Collier's Annunciation

Collier's wonderful painting shows Mary as a typical school girl. It is a good reminder of both her humanity and her humility. Her purity is represented by the lillies which also foreshadow the empty Tomb.

If the Angel Gabriel is facing east, Mary is portrayed as reading her lesson or preparing for a test in the morning. The new dawn shines on her and on the Book which she holds firmly in her hands. She is as attentive to the Word as the archangel is to proclaiming her unique blessedness.

I like this painting because it reminds us that God's Word never fails to accomplish God's purpose. Mary was not a random choice. She was of a long line of women descended from the first people to receive the Word that the Woman's Seed would crush the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15). For Satan to be defeated, the Woman’s Seed would have to be of God, so Jesus is the Son of God and the fulfillment of the expectation of Abraham's people that the Son of God would be born in human form from their bloodline.

How can this be? Because Abraham's people preserved the bloodline of priests by maintaining a specific kinship pattern in which priests married half-sisters and patrilineal daughters of priests (cousins or nieces). Their expectation of the promised Son of God explains their strict adherence to this marriage pattern, with priests marrying only the daughters of priests (confirmed by DNA studies which have identified the cohen/priest marker). These daughter grew up as chaste women.  In Abraham's time they grew up at their father's water shrines because the ancient priests kept sheep for the sacrifice and controlled water systems such as wells to sustain their flocks. This explains why many of the heroes of the Old Testament met their brides at wells or river shrines.

Calling to remembrance our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Related reading:  Mary's Priestly Lineage; Mount Mary and the Origins of Life; Peleg: Time of Division; Cousin Brides and the Ruler Sons


Georgia said...

What a delightful surprise to find you interpreting art. I studied drawing and painting and art history. And what an intriguing painting. I love that Mary is looking up from the book facing west containing the word of the west, the fallen flesh, world, devil, to attend to the Word of God. If I had painted it, I would have had the angel's robe and wings white as well as the dove resting and waiting for Mary's assent to God's plan on the next rooftop...I wonder why the robe is soiled and stone-colored?

Also, have you noticed that Rublev's (I believe, Spirit-inspired) Ikon of the Trinity illustrates the Filioque?
(as if chapters 14-16 of St. John's Gospel, particularly v. 15:26 didn't)

As I recall, Rublev fasted and prayed before writing this I have also wondered if he was gifted as a prophet.

If you and Sister Delores ever have time to read Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:67-69; Acts 2:33-34; Romans 8:34, and then just gaze at the Icon for a while...(repeat if necessary) remembering that in the East, paintings and writing read from East/right to West/left.

If you do take the time to do this, let me know if you see what I mean.

Georgia said...

Dear Alice, please excuse the reference to Sister Delores...she was involved in an ikon class I took. I had pasted a paragraph hastily and carelessly from old letter...not a very good or wise practice.

Georgia said...

More meditations on Rublev's Trinity: (reading the Ikon from the right) I believe both The Father and Jesus Christ are looking, consenting, willing and sending The Holy Spirit with the power of truth, love and life to The Mission and Work of leading, teaching and giving life to the Church. This is the Era of the Holy Spirit and that is why the Spirit is wearing the golden gown of anointing and glory. The Ikon invites the Christian in, to join the holy intimate loving fellowship, will and purposes of the Trinity, where we may sit at the left hand of The Holy Father and feast on Heavenly food that ends all hungers and drink living water that quenches all thirsts .

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes! Beautiful, Georgia. The Incarnation of the Son of God reflects the pure intimacy of the Triune God.

I'd be interested in your comment on this essay, which takes this further:

david said...

Mary the earthly mother of Jesus was a humble to the sight of God and God selected her to be the earthly mother of Jesus. Now if we are humble to the sight of God, Jesus is going to reveal through us. thanks for good message to encourage us.