14 September, 2021

‘In Light and Color’

by | 7 June, 2021 | 0 comments

Paolo Veronese’s 1573 painting, The Feast in the House of Levi (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

By Jon Wren

In the summer of 1573, Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese was called before a church tribunal to answer an accusation of blasphemy. His crime, according to the church leaders, was his most recent painting—a depiction of Christ and his disciples celebrating Communion with criminals, vagrants, drunks, and even little people. Church authorities were shocked and offended that Veronese would depict Jesus Christ at one of the most pivotal moments in his ministry surrounded by and associating with people of loose morals and low character.

But Veronese would not back down. He told the court, “My art is joyous and praises God in light and color!” For him, part of what made the Last Supper so significant and important was its invitation for all people—not just the righteous and the powerful—to come to the table and experience the grace of God. He saw the Lord’s Supper as a joyous moment of celebration and light, not a judgmental ritual or ceremony that separated the righteous from everyone else.

Church authorities in Venice, Italy, ordered the artwork to be changed and revised. No longer a painting of Communion, they renamed it “The Feast in the House of Levi.” The painting depicts the events in Matthew 9, which was the only way church authorities could accept Jesus being surrounded by sinners.

Today, Veronese’s painting sits in a gallery in Venice.

When we as Christ followers take Communion, we need to be careful to avoid falling into the same misguided thinking as those church leaders at Veronese’s trial. The story of Jesus welcoming sinners is not a one-time event, but rather, his whole mission and ministry! Communion is not a moment for us to be proud of how righteous we think we are; instead, it is a time to reflect and celebrate that a holy God would allow sinners like us to come to his table at all! In fact, Christ not only invites us to come to him, but he invites everyone to come to him joyfully “in light and color” to find hope and forgiveness through his work at the cross.

Jesus said, “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13).

Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slowly.

Detail from Paolo Veronese’s 1573 painting, The Feast in the House of Levi (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles


By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Sept. 19 | Jesus Is a Superior Sacrifice

When Jesus was done, he sat down at the right hand of God. These days, people sit down to work. By contrast, in the ancient world when someone sat down, it meant their work was finished (John 19:30)

Sept. 19 | Application

The word “sacrifice” has been cheapened by overuse, David Faust writes. Is it really a sacrifice to skip dessert or give up gourmet coffee? What does sacrifice mean to us today? Here are three questions to consider . . .

It’s All About Jesus

No person mentioned in the Old Testament or New Testament could have imagined how history would one day come together and finally make sense at the cross.

Follow Us