Today's Gospel in Art - My own peace I give you

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Butterfly Rainbow, by Damien Hirst 2020 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020

Butterfly Rainbow, by Damien Hirst 2020 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020

Gospel of 12th May 2020 - John 14:27-31

Jesus said to his disciples:

'Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,

a peace the world cannot give,

this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,

for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.

I shall not talk with you any longer,

because the prince of this world is on his way.

He has no power over me,

but the world must be brought to know

that I love the Father

and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.'

Reflection on the Work of Art

We have to realise that the words spoken by Jesus in today's reading came just hours before He was going to be crucified… and here He is being concerned with the joy, peace and wellbeing of His followers. Think of it. He is on the cusp of being tortured and dying a horrible death, and He speaks the words: 'Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you'… He wants us to have genuine peace; He wants us to have genuine joy; He wants us to have an unshakable faith.

When we think of a symbol for peace, the rainbow comes to mind. This rainbow has biblical origins: Genesis 9: 12-16. In that scriptural passage God brought about the Great Flood, from which only Noah and his family were saved by entering the ark. The rainbow is a sign that despite the fact that mankind is sinning and may deserve another Flood, God remembers His promise and doesn't send one. This combined with the fact we can only see a rainbow in the sky once the rain eases off or stops altogether. Thus, the rainbow is a sign that any rain will eventually stop and there will be hope and brighter days ahead. Also, a rainbow is formed due to the combination of both fire (light) and water. Thus, the rainbow symbolises peace and harmony…

Anyway, the rainbow we are looking at today is by Damien Hirst, made in this last month, to show support for the NHS (the UK health care service) in the current Coronavirus crisis. The work, titled Butterfly Rainbow, is made up of bands of coloured butterfly wings, one of the artist's signature motifs. Damien Hirst said: "I wanted to do something to pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country. The rainbow is a sign of hope and I think it is brilliant that parents and children are creating their own versions and putting them up in the windows of their homes."

You can download your own Damien Hirst's Butterfly Rainbow poster here.


Today's story -

Christian Art Today -

and Holy Week through 100 paintings -

Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Damien Hurst, Rainbow

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