Wow! what a dramatic moment and such a beautifully rendered scene!!
Alexandre Bida is known as a French Romantic who traveled to Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Palestine to capture the atmosphere of the stories we read in the Bible. He was a student of Delacroix, which surprises me since he had such untamed brush strokes and not at all like the refined photographic detail of this image. Still, Bida captures the moment when Jesus came for a visit by dramatically spotlighting his face as his walks through the door. I can see the heart of a romantic artist at work.
This picture is one of several that the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore owns by Bida. I would love to go for a little visit to examine the surface of the paper and to study his use of pen and crayon to create the overall effect. Sadly none of his work is on view at this time so I will have to satisfy myself with this photograph of the original.
The story of Zacchaeus climbing up in a tree to get a better view of Jesus, is my absolute favorite. I can really relate to him feeling too small and invisible and I love how Jesus finds him and reaches out and even invites himself home….love this thought and I have to smile.
Then I think about how God usually favors the little guy. It is a thread that runs deep throughout scripture…Abel was born second–Isaac wasn’t really the first born –neither was Jacob–Joseph–David or Solomon. Moses was an outcast…even the story of the prodigal son seems to favor the younger son. Yes! God does like to do things that surprise us and generally go against the norm. I’m sure there are more examples. Can you think of any more?
“But they constrain him, saying, ‘Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’ And he went into tarry with them.” Luke 24: 29
Both of these verses in scripture use the word “abide” and I am drawn into thinking about that lovely old hymn I sang as a child worshipping with my family back in the little country church. I can remember sitting snuggled up to my Father and listening to his bass voice as my eyes would grow heavy in the dozy atmosphere of these serene words.
Listen and imagine the poetry:
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide, the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comfort flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Hold Thou thy cross before my closing eyes, shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heavens morning breaks, and earth vain flee. In life, in death, O Lord abide with me.
-Henry F. Lyte 1847
Dear Lord –Savior –Friend
As we think of you in this way, we long for your presence and our heart’s cry out: “stay near to us” – Let us, like the beloved disciple, rest our head on your shoulder. Teach us the true nature of abiding together…there is no need to impress, words are not necessary, we are one in heart mind and Spirit.
In Jesus’ Name