Today's Gospel in Art - The field is the world

Fall Plowing, by Grant Wood © Courtesy of the John Deere Art Collection

Fall Plowing, by Grant Wood © Courtesy of the John Deere Art Collection

Gospel of 28th July 2020 - Matthew 13:36-43

Leaving the crowds, Jesus went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, 'Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.' He said in reply, 'The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!'

Reflection on the Painting

Grant Wood was an American painter best known for painting scenes in rural America in the 1920-30's. You are probably all familiar with his most famous painting 'American Gothic', depicting a man and a woman in front of their farm house, holding a pitchfork. Whilst abstract art was reigning in Europe at that time, Grant Wood painted in a realist, representational manner. He was one of the artists known as 'Regionalist' painters, who painted what was around them, what they knew and what they saw. A simple but highly effective approach. The painting pays homage to the then recently developed walking plough (depicted in the foreground), commonly used by farmers in the Midwestern United States during this time. The painting illustrates the important role that new technologies played in the development of prairie land into workable farmland.

Jesus in our reading today is explaining a parable which we looked at a few days ago (see He says 'the field is the world'. When looking at fields, such as in our painting, we can see fertile areas, growth, but also rocks, weeds etc. The poignancy of the parable hits us every day. It is all about having patience with the persistence of evil in the world around us, where good and evil are intertwined. We see injustice, hurt, suffering and violence. Of course we should try and tackle them, but we have to remind ourselves to be patient as well and realise that the final judgement lies with God Himself when harvest time comes…


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Tags: Christian Art, Patrick van der Vorst, Grant Wood

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