Raised up – 8 February 2021
In this drawing Jesus takes hold of a sick woman by her two hands and raises her up. Although Jesus wears his usual robes, the woman is dressed in contemporary Dutch attire, including her head covering. The drawing illustrates a story told in Mark 1, where a sick woman on her bed is taken by the hand, lifted up, and restored to health. The story takes place in a house inhabited by others, but in this image only Jesus and the woman are shown, all other details stripped away, save for a few lines that signify the bed. The drama of the scene, that turns the woman’s life around, is suggested by the careful use of hatched lines and smudged shadow that suggest light and shadow.
The drawing here is by Rembrandt van Rijn – The Healing of the mother-in-law of St Peter (late 1650s, Frick Collection). The sketch does not relate to a painting nor is it a preparatory work, but a stand alone piece fully engaged with its topic. Rembrandt is showing us a woman raised to her feet and healed solely by Christ’s intervention.
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
Hear the prayer we offer for all your people.
Remember in your mercy those for whom we pray:
heal the sick, raise the fallen, strengthen the fainthearted
and enfold in your love the fearful and those who have no hope.
In the fullness of time complete your gracious work.
Reconcile all things in Christ and make them new,
that we may be restored in your image, renewed in your love,
and serve you as sons and daughters in your kingdom.