Worth the wait.
The Nicene Creed uses monarchic and juridical imagery to describe the end of time: Christ "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end." Artists draw upon similar visual language to transform the Jesus who had been executed as a criminal into a powerful royal adjudicator.
In this manuscript illustration, a regal Christ is surrounded by the traditional emblems of the four evangelists, a symbology inspired by the living creatures described in the visionary language of the Prophet Ezekiel (1:5-14) and the Book of Revelation (4:6-8). They grasp the edges of the mandorla framing Christ as if presenting him--the focus of the composition, of the gospels they represent, and of believers' lives.
This almond-shaped border isolates an oval of green against the blue-gray background of the rest of the picture, and indicates that Christ's return will rupture the limits of time and space. Angels bow in adoration as the Savior raises his right hand in blessing and signs his name, the Greek abbreviation IC XC.
Do we anticipate the fullness of God's reign? For whom are we waiting?
By Jerry Bleem, O.F.M., a priest and artist who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.