Easter, Day 3: Lord of Light and Life

. . . the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings . . .

—Malachi 4:2

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.

—Isaiah 9:2

LOOK: The Sun by Edvard Munch

Munch, Edvard_Sun
Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944), The Sun, 1911. Oil on canvas, 455 × 780 cm (14.9 × 25.5 ft.). The Aula, University of Oslo, Norway.

Over twenty-five feet across, Edvard Munch’s The Sun is the centerpiece of an eleven-piece cycle of oil paintings on the theme of enlightenment commissioned for, and still located in, the Aula (assembly hall) at the University of Oslo. It shows a blazing sunrise over the coastline of Kragerø in Norway, its multicolored rays extending to adjacent canvases, which portray men and women reaching up toward the light.

Though he didn’t have an explicitly Christological meaning in mind, Munch did see the sun as the source of all life, as he wrote about in his notebooks, and in his work it is often read as a symbol of the eternal.

LISTEN: “Again the Lord” | Words by Anna L. Barbauld, 1772 | Music by Ben Thomas, 2015 | Performed by Ben Thomas on Bring Forth, 2015

Again the Lord of light and life
Awakes the kindling ray
Unseals the eyelids of the morn
And pours increasing day

O what a night was that which wrapped
The sleeping world in gloom
O what a Sun which rose this day
Triumphant from the tomb

This day be grateful homage paid
And loud hosannas sung
Let gladness dwell in every heart
And praise on every tongue

Ten thousand different lips shall join
To hail this welcome morn
Which scatters blessing from its wings
To nations yet unborn

This song is on the Art & Theology Eastertide Playlist.

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