Today's Gospel in Art - What I command you is to love one another

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Louvre 2, Paris, 1989, Photograph by Thomas Struth 1989 © Thomas Struth

Louvre 2, Paris, 1989, Photograph by Thomas Struth 1989 © Thomas Struth

Gospel of 15th May 2020 - John 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:

'This is my commandment: love one another,

as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me: no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. What I command you is to love one another.'

Reflection on the Contemporary Art Photograph

In today's command, Jesus asks us to 'love one another'. This command was given just in the presence of His disciples, which is significant. With 'one another' He doesn't just mean that we have to love, care for and respect our other fellow human beings, but by giving this command in the presence only of His disciples, He created a group that from that very moment on were identified by one thing: love. This is the essence of being Christian. There are many groups in the world we live in. These groups identify themselves in a number of ways: shared hobbies or interests, political beliefs, professional ambitions, etc… But to belong to the Christian group so to speak, and to be Christian, is to love. Jesus created a group in that moment whose identifying DNA is love.

The photograph we are looking at is by Thomas Struth. It shows a group of children, with shared ages, shared interests and shared academic year probably. They are at the Louvre Museum talking about art. Sitting down on the floor, they are probably engaged in some in-depth conversations about art, beauty and aesthetics. Thomas Struth is Germany's most celebrated contemporary photographer and highest selling contemporary art photographer in the world today, best known for his Museum Photographs such as our example here.

The group Jesus is inviting us to is Christianity. This group has its own unique dynamic: the more I become aware that I am infinitely loved by God, the more I am able to share that power to love with the people around me; the more I love the people around me, the closer it brings me to Christ. We go full circle in this love that we are being commanded to live in today's reading.


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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Thomas Struth

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