I am delighted to be celebrating the Feast day of Luke the Evangelist. You see, Luke and I have been traveling closely lately. Along with the fact that it is his turn in the lectionary, I’m also currently writing a curriculum for the families at my school studying his gospel. And while the curriculum (which is Charlotte Mason in approach) has been a delightful project, the best part so far was the beginning when we met Luke through Valentine de Boulogne’s painting. The painting is the property of Versailles and while we cannot republish it on Grow Christians, you should certainly head over to Versailles’ website to view it.
Before we begin the picture study, it is good to remember a few things about Luke. Luke never met Jesus and is believed to have been a doctor from Antioch. We know that he spent time with Paul. He is highly regarded as a historian because of his accuracy in descriptions and precision in revealing the ministry of Jesus in Luke and the early life of the church in Acts.
Now, I invite you to take a few minutes to remember Saint Luke on his feast day by studying this engraved version of de Boulogne’s painting of the evangelist. Spend a couple minutes looking closely at this picture of Saint Luke. Give it your full attention and set a timer if that is helpful.
What do you see?
Now close your eyes and see if you can bring the details of the picture to life in your mind.
Look again and fill in the details.
Put the picture aside and ask “What did I notice about Valentine de Boulogne’s Luke the Evangelist?”
There is no wrong answer at this point and it is best to let the picture speak for itself.
Here is a list of a few things that might be observed, reflected upon or discussed.
- He is writing in a book. – Luke is the author of Luke and Acts
- Oxen – Each of the ‘four evangelists’ has a symbol. Luke’s is the ox. The oxen symbolizes service, sacrifice and strength. One sees all of these themes developed in Luke’s gospel.
- Picture of Mary and Jesus – Tradition holds that Luke is the first person to paint Mary and Jesus. Often you will see a painters pallet or a picture like the one in this painting alongside Luke in pictures.
- Halo – A halo represents holiness – to be set apart by God.
To end your time you might want to ask yourself, “What do we know about Luke? I wonder why God chose him to give us the important words of the gospel.”
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Collect for the Feast of Saint Luke used with permission by Church Publishing; Image of Saint Luke used with permission of Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum. The engraving is a gift of Belinda L. Randall from the collection of John Witt Randall]