Return to God’s word for the purpose of “hearing and seeing” Christ in the text. Fix your gaze on the illumination. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart and enable you to see what God wants you to see.
As I look upon the Illumination for this week’s scripture passage of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), I find myself drawn to the beautiful, colored background. On the top left, I see a figure that appears to be a Menorah. The center panels remind me of panes of stained glass, bursting with color. On the far right panel I notice what appears to be a city on the horizon. It truly is beautiful and a feast for the eyes!
I now notice the background below the top four panels. The texture and color is still pleasing to the eye, but as I look closer, I realize that this picture isn’t quite as pretty. Pagan idols, disjointed images, broken borders all make up this scene. The disunited imagery then gives was to blackness, then nothing at all.
My eye now moves to the text. At the top of the Illumination, in gold is God’s bold and powerful proclamation of God’s self: “Here I am. I am the God of your father. I am the Lord your God.” The background certainly proclaims the majesty of the text! Now we get to the actual commandments. However, we only see the first commandment in its fullness! By the time we reach the second commandment, the text has so disintegrated that it is impossible to read!
I find myself reflecting on how we human beings are so eager and fervent when we perceive God working in our lives. It’s bold and exciting, just like the golden text at the top of the Illumination. However, we quickly forget or meander down our own path – much like the ever-distigrating text at the bottom of the illumination. It’s a poignant image and one that I will carry with me as I go about my day.
-Chase M. Becker
©Ten Commandments, Donald Jackson 2003 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.