The Gospel of John begins with the verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1) The reference to the Beginning hearkens back to Genesis and the Earth’s formation, and artist Donald Jackson incorporates the Genesis story by having the central figure of Christ step from the dark unformed universe toward the bright organized world. In The Art of The Saint John’s Bible, Susan Sink develops this idea:
The image of Christ seems to be stepping from the darkness which recalls the chaos and nothingness of the creation story and moves toward light and order. In fact, the texture behind Christ’s head is inspired by an image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope and reflects the cosmic character of the event.
She draws the reader’s attention to another symbol:
To the left, a keyhole recalls the tradition of locked and hinged manuscripts securing, protecting, and holding the “key” to the Word of God. It might also make you think of standing at the door and knocking, of locked diaries, and of secret prayers of the heart.
Notice also the stenciled crosses which refer to the Transfiguration illumination, and the gold filigree which throughout the Bible refers to the presence of the divine.
The “Word Made Flesh” illumination will be featured in a Visio Divina session on Wednesday, December 9, at 12:45 p.m. in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher. This Advent prayer opportunity is sponsored by Campus Ministry and the Garaventa Center.