Richard Serrin, the artist of the image on the cover, frequently takes stylistic inspiration from 17th and 18th century European art and chooses scripture for his subject matter. In this painting, Serrin breathes life onto a canvas, revealing to the viewer Simeon’s deepest emotions.
Scripture tells how Simeon responded when he beheld the infant Jesus; Serrin shows us. Serrin shows us the eyes of a man who has been waiting for the desire of generations to be satisfied. In these eyes are the wisdom born of studying the history of God’s people, the sadness of hope swallowed by disappointment only to blossom and then fade again, and trust as Simeon looks to heaven aware that God’s promise to send a savior has been fulfilled. Yet there is sorrow in the knowledge that “this child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed” (Luke 2:34, NRSV). After so many years, Simeon had lived to see the “light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to [God’s] people Israel” (Luke 2:32).
As I follow his gaze heavenward, I imagine Simeon blessed, relieved, conflicted, and heartbroken. But most of all, I see hope — the hope found in Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers to us all.
Cover photo courtesy of the artist. © Richard Serrin. Prints of cover art are available by calling 212-888-2280 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.