Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.

Sunday Christ the King

Tanja Butler: The Shepherd King

Micah 5:1-5


Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
    siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
    on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
    to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.

This passage looks forward to the coming of an eternal ruler who would bring peace and shepherd God’s people. In John 10:14-16; 27-30 Jesus claimed to be this majestic shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (ESV)


This meditation is taken over from Ned Bustard (ed.), Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grownups, Square Halo Books, 2015.

Tanja Butler: The Shepherd King, linocut.

Tanja Butler was born in Germany in 1955 and moved to the United States as a young girl. She studied art history and studio art and received a graduate degree in painting from the University at Albany, New York. She is interested in the intersection of art and worship. Periods of work in Italy shaped her understanding of ways in which visual art can support the ministry of the church. The frescoes by Fra Angelico in the convent of San Marco in Florence were a particularly influential model. Until 2014, when she retired, she was Associate Professor of Art at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where she taught Painting, Printmaking, Illustration, and Liturgical Art. Students in her classes have created artwork for area churches, schools and community organizations. Her work has been displayed in many solo and group exhibitions across the United States.  For more about Tanja Butler and her work, see

ArtWay Visual Meditation November 26, 2017


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