The Baptism of Christ - El Greco (1541-1614)

The Baptism of Christ (detail) – El Greco (1541-1614)

Artists over the centuries have imagined the baptism of Christ in many different ways. The Greek painter who spent a large portion of his career in Toledo Spain and there was known as El Greco himself painted this scene several times, each time with a different perspective, a different emphasis.

When I consider the meaning of various scenes of Scripture, I think of the truth of the adage ‘You never step into the same river twice’. Part of the truth is that the river itself is never the same – the water itself flows past and changes constantly. The other part of the truth is that we ourselves are constantly changing, and therefore experience life differently.

What I appreciate about this particular rendition of this scene are the eyes of Jesus. Sometimes Jesus is imagined with eyes looking down, head bowed with humility before the Holy One above whose commission as Christ he here publicly accepts. Sometimes Jesus is imagined with eyes looking up, head raised to the heavens, with the Holy Spirit descending from the Father above, with Jesus receiving assurance for the divine task before him of the renovation of humanity. But here, on this canvas, it is as if El Greco has Jesus looking directly into the eyes of the people around him. And at this point in my personal life, I find here a particularly meaningful dimension of the baptism of Jesus.

It is as if Jesus is saying ‘I am here to bring God to humanity, I am here to renew humanity and this world. I am here … for you.’

Have a look at the Order of Service for this Sunday and join us in the worship of the God of love, Father Son and Holy Spirit. There is a nursery for infants, a programme for children, and ample free parking along the street and in a public lot behind the church off Queen Street.

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