Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Sunday of Lent - Gethsemane

Title: Gethsemane
Artist: J. Kirk Richards
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 104 x 249 cm
Date: 2006
Location: Private Collection.

Mark 14:32-36 - They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch." Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Like many who face death, Jesus would like to avoid dying now. If he were considering only his personal preference, he would rather not experience the pain of mortality and the horror of paying for sin. But Jesus has a more fundamental concern: "Yet not what I will, but what you will." Here Jesus submits to God's plan and will. If it is time and this is the way to accomplish your desire, he says, then, Lord, take me. Jesus is committed to God's will, even above his own desires. If that means suffering, so be it. If that means death, so be it. By relying on prayer and communion with God, Jesus faces his dark hour as a shining light.

Figurative artist J. Kirk Richards is becoming increasingly known for his accomplishments as a painter of Judeo-Christian themes. Richards was born near Brigham Young University. As a teen he took private lesson from artist Clayton Williams to supplement his public school studies, and upon graduation was accepted into the BYU art program, studying with artists such as Bruce Smith and Hagen Haltern. In the subsequent years his artwork has been featured in various shows and publications, including the BYU Museum of Art Beholding Salvation: The Life of Christ in Word and Image show and accompanying book, and been the recipient and many honors and awards. More of his work is featured on his website