Today's Gospel in Art - In my Father's house there are many dwelling-places

  • Patrick van de Vorst

Corbusier house Berlin, by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier 1953 © CorbusierHaus Berlin

Corbusier house Berlin, by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier 1953 © CorbusierHaus Berlin

Gospel of 10th May 2020 - John 14:1-12

Jesus said, 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?'

Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.' Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.'

Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.'

Reflection on the Architectural Building

We have barely looked at architecture here on Christian Art, but nevertheless, architecture is maybe more than any other art form, part of our everyday life. The houses we live in, the buildings we work in, the churches we worship in, all important surroundings that we as human beings live and participate in. In 1953, only eight years after the Second World War, new types of buildings were designed to eliminate the acute post-war housing shortage in Berlin. Architect Le Corbusier built the block of flats illustrated here, containing 530 apartments. The building is constructed in béton brut (rough-cast concrete) and is part of the initial architecture style we know today as Brutalism. Gaining popularity in the 1950s, Brutalism is characterised by stark, strict, minimalist, linear constructions that showcase the bare building materials, concrete, and structural elements over decorative design.

We have discussed today's reading over the past two days (Friday John 14:1-6; yesterday John 14:7-14), but the image that stays with me in this reading today is that the happiness of heaven is spoken of as in a house: 'there are many rooms in my Father's house,' and Jesus says that he will prepare it for us. There is something very homely about the image Jesus draws today: the rooms in our Father's house and Jesus getting the accommodation ready…. Still serving us in this act of love towards us. We will be His guests and… each of us are important to him.


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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van de Vorst, Le Corbusier

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