Pietro da Cortona – “The Stoning of St Stephen” c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 102.8 x 35.4 inches – The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Stephen gathers the entire history of rebellion of the people of Israel into one place. This same history stares at him in the faces of his accusers. However, even more intently present to him are the glory of God and the sight of Jesus sitting at God’s right hand as he is being stoned to death. In words and disposition of heart the same as Jesus, Stephen commits his spirit to the Lord in today’s verse.
Jesus lives in his disciples and in you. The Holy Spirit fills you as you immerse yourself in the scene of Stephen’s martyrdom. Empty your hands of stones to throw, for you are not without sin. No more accusing others, or yourself. Open yourself to awesome love.
What are these?
My heart the place of God’s rest v. 49
Seeing the glory of God v. 56
Jesus, receive my spirit. v. 59
Holding no sin against them v. 60
This is the Fifth Week in Easter, Year A.
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