Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Memento Mori

The title of this blog is a Latin phrase meaning; "Remember that you are mortal," "Remember you will die," "Remember that you must die," or "Remember your death". In ancient Rome, the phrase is said to have been used on the occasions when a Roman general was parading through the streets of Rome during the victory celebration known as a triumph. Standing behind the victorious general was a slave, and he had the task of reminding the general that, though he was up on the peak today, tomorrow was another day. The servant did this by telling the general that he should remember that he was mortal: "Memento mori." It is also possible that the servant said, rather, "Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento!": "Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man!".

Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb

In Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot he describes Holbein's painting ( pictured above ) and has a character exclaim: “Why some people may lose their faith by looking at that picture!”




The stark and offensive nature of the artist's depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ creates an uncomfortable, possibly nauseaus, reaction to the reality of the nature of this punishment used by the Romans. It provides separation from a comfortable, peaceful appearance of the crucifixion portrayed as a divine source of satisfaction, contentment and ease. The panels bring us face to face with the anxieties and fears that come with life. There is that intent in this representation of the horrific event of the crucifixion, it is to bring home the reality of the ugliness of sin; the ugliness of the cruelty and heartlessness of man in disposing of God; the ugliness of the intents of the heart of man in the treatment of each other, regardless of our fault or folly; the ugliness of our ambition and pride in usurping God as Lord; it creates a supreme crisis of the soul, that crisis being our spiritual life and death and in that crisis the consciousness that only two existences are true, or contain truth — God and self.
The Death of Jesus Christ is more than the creation of a pious atmosphere or condition of prayer and devotion, discipline and zeal, it is the superanatural and miraculous redemption of man from a destitute and desperate condition which required the passion of God to be revealed at a cost inestimable in human terms, a covenant signed and dyed with the Blood of the Lamb, a covenant marked by the nails in Jesus' hands and feet, which makes those who understand the truth of this sacrifice exclaim with awe and wonder, 'This is the work of God Almighty". This is the revelation of the truth that Jesus is not just the figurehead of a relgious movement; He is that, but He is Infinitely more; He is salvation itself. Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth is come ... He shall glorify me." "When I commit myself to the revelation made in the New Testament concerning the claims made by Christ of His divinity and propitiation, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, that Spirit which is given in earnest as a dowery or down payment on the subsequent balance of the covenant, and I am enabled to begin to interpret and understand what Jesus did; and that same Spirit will do in you and I, subjectively, all that Jesus did for you and I objectively."

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