The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation. T.S. Eliot

Tanja Butler: Shepherd King

ArtWay Visual Meditation November 26, 2017

Tanja Butler: 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: 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



1. ARTWAY – This past week we posted a short meditation on an Advent work by the Dutch artist Gerda Smelik and in the French section we added a meditation about a work by the French artist Roger Garin.

2. FREE WEB RESOURCE – Inspired to Follow: Art and the Bible Story. A free web-resource created by St Martin-in-the-Fields in partnership with the National Gallery, using paintings from the Gallery’s collection, Biblical texts, and theological reflections as a spring board for groups to explore questions of contemporary faith.  The course covers key elements of the Biblical story from Creation to Apocalypse and is structured as 22 sessions (one hour each) divided into three ‘terms’.  Full details and the course materials available at:

3. USA – The annual Calvin Symposium on Worship, January 25-27, 2018, is a three-day conference sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching. The conference brings together a wide audience of artists, musicians, pastors, scholars, students, worship leaders and planners from around the world for a time of fellowship, worship, and learning together, seeking to develop their gifts, encourage each other and renew their commitment to the full ministry of the church. For the program, see

For more exhibitions, lectures, conferences etc. inside and outside your country, click here

ArtWay is a website with resources for congregations and individuals concerned about linking art and faith.