Today's Gospel in Art - To one he gave five talents

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Parable of the Talents, Stained glass by Clayton & Bell, 19th century, © St Edith's Church, Bishop Wilton

Parable of the Talents, Stained glass by Clayton & Bell, 19th century, © St Edith's Church, Bishop Wilton

Gospel of 31st Aug 2019 - Matthew 25: 14-30

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: 'The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.

'The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

'Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. "Sir," he said "you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made."

'His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness."

'Next the man with the two talents came forward. "Sir," he said "you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made." His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness."

'Last came forward the man who had the one talent. "Sir," said he "I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back." But his master answered him, "You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."

Reflection on the Stained Glass Window

Clayton & Bell was one of the most prolific stained glass window workshops of the late 19th century in England. They executed commissions as far afield as New York, Sydney and Montreal, showing how already at the end of the 19th century their quality of craftsmanship was in high demand. Clayton and Bell excelled in their use of colours and they were masters of story-telling. In our stained glass window, we see the master walking away, and the three servants with their talents in the foreground. The servant who was given the one talent is seen digging a hole in the ground, he is the focus of the composition and of our reflection. A simple, yet very effective rendition.

Ok, so what is a talent, or how much was it worth? While its exact value is hard to calculate in what it would be worth in today's money, one talent was a substantial amount of money....

To read on see: www.christianart.today/daily-gospel-reading/159


Tags: Christian Art Today, Talents, Patrick van der Vorst

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