encounters with God in the world's great art
Claude Monet: Japanese Bridge
(This image is projected onto a screen as the speaker delivers the accompanying text)
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Speaker: This is one of the most famous paintings by Claude Monet, who is probably the most beloved of all Impressionist painters. It’s undeniably beautiful, isn’t it? But what is it that makes this painting so beautiful?
Is it the weeping willows? The water lilies? The graceful arc of the bridge? These all contribute to what’s special about it, but more than anything, it’s the way Monet treats every surface individually as its own colorful spot of light. He’s not so concerned with painting a tree or a flower. What he’s interested in is the light. When you look at the painting up close, it’s a jumble of colored spots because that’s the effect of the light as Monet saw it. And by focusing not on the objects but on the light reflected from them, he creates a work of great beauty and immense value.
That’s an important lesson for Impressionist painters. But it’s even more important for us in our daily lives. The love of God that we celebrate today is the Light of the World.
May the world around you be dazzled by the beauty of that light as it is reflected in your life.
(At this point the speaker may opt to challenge the congregation with specific actions that might reflect the light of Christ in ways relevant to the theme of the worship service or to community needs.)