I painted this as a farewell gift to a pastor who, last year, painted himself up a step-ladder to reach Jesus on the cross – “Pray with me”. In the painting, Jesus, from our altar’s gilt crucifix, embraces him for his ministry.
The gospel of St Matthew was written for the early Christian church, aware of its existence as a ship sailing through stormy seas. The ceiling of the Nave of our St Matthews church has timbers accentuating this nautical reference, especially when turned upside-down as in the painting.
The song I found myself singing as I prepared this farewell gift is “I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. … Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?” [TiS #658] Obviously this pastor answered, as did Isaiah [ch6], “Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I will hold your people in my heart.”
But would not this painting be as valid with a woman also being supported, encouraged and commissioned by our Lord Jesus?
Why would it suddenly be just the ministry of men, not women, that God supports, commands and encourages?
Genesis 1:27-31 puts responsibility squarely on the shoulders of men and women together. Matthew 28:16-20 is our Christian commissioning.
The Thesis of the Doctrinal Statements and Theological Opinions of the Lutheran Church of Australia make beautiful reading until no. 11. And the only reason no. 11 is there is as an explanation of the way we used to do things. It isn’t right.