Tableau 4 for Advent Studies 4
"Great Souls at Prayer" provided us with two ancient prayers from 1869 and 1085. In the older prayer, God is acknowledged as our 'enlightener'.
Marion asked us to share the highlights of the Advent Studies course so far. Ian said his attention has been drawn to John the Baptist and how he made a big noise to prepare the way for Jesus. Derek added that John joined the Old Testament with the New Testament as he lit the 'touch paper' for Jesus. Barbara appreciated the comparison between Herod and Joseph and the "songs" of praise of various characters in the gospel stories that prepare for Jesus' arrival.
We studied the tableau to help us understand John's account. This is not John the Baptist writing but John the Evangelist, a disciple of Jesus. The tradition has been to stand up when John's Gospel is read at a "Nine lessons and carols" service and the poetic structure of his writing is recognised.
The candle in the centre of the tableau represents Jesus with God at the start of the universe. Everything is due to the creator God. Its holder shows that Jesus is the king and its wire is a reminder of his crown of thorns and the salvation brought through his death. The sheep shows Jesus the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The statue represents angels who worshipped in the sacred place of creation.
From the centre of the tableau, representing God the creator, creation surrounds it:
dark and light/day and night - moon and yellow scarves; earth - brown scarf; sea - blue scarf; vegetation - green scarf; animals - butterfly scarf and busy human habitation - paisley scarf.
The statue praying represents us and the prayer book shows Christian prayer going back through history and how we are continuing the worship.
The opening line of John's Gospel is like the opening verse in the first book in the Bible, Genesis, which we read through, with the tableau in mind.
Marion explained that John chapter 1 is also similar to passages in Revelation, the last book in the Bible, written by the same John who wrote the Gospel - we read in chapter 21 about a new city and in 22 a restored Eden.
We are in the middle, between the creation in Genesis and the new creation in Revelation. We are awaiting the already - Jesus has already come and he will come again in glory.