The Disciple James the Less

Based on James 5:10-18

Room 104

This mosaic depicts the power of prayer as recorded in James 5: 17-18.   It shows symbolically the story of Elijah which James repeats for us in his letter.  Elijah was a prophet in Israel centuries ago and was a familiar figure in the Jewish religion.

Centuries before the birth of Christ, Israel was ruled by a wicked king. The people were apathetic towards God and his blessings.  Although Elijah reminded the people to remain faithful to God, they continued with their self-centered agendas.  Elijah delivered God’s message to the people stating that there would be no rain for 3 years.  The panel shows the orange sun as it beats on the withering plant.  Then, in a later prayer, God sent rain to restore the “fruit of the earth” as illustrated by the green plant on the lower right.   The vertical blue tiles on the right side of the panel depict the rain. 

The yellow ceramic sections contain the words of James as he describes the story of Elijah’s faith in the power of prayer.  The curves here suggest the position of a person kneeling.  There is also a figure of a camel’s foot.  This suggests James’ persistence in praying.  His knees were so often bent in prayer that they resembled the feet of a camel.

Not much is known about this James.  There are several people by the name of James mentioned in the gospels.  This disciple is also known as James, the son of Alphaeus or James, the Younger or as James, the Less.  Although the gospel writers are silent on his true identity, some theories suggest he was short or that he was related to Christ.

The artist is not concerned with the identity of James, but rather the emphasis is placed on communicating with God.  Prayer is simply talking to God.  Elijah talked to God all the time.  In the last verses in the letter of James, he emphasizes the power and effectiveness of consulting God on all issues.  It’s interesting that the God of the universe takes time not only to listen to us, but knows our inwards thoughts. Prayer was the way James stayed connected with God as he encountered all of the joys and sorrows of life.

Thankoffering by Mr. and Mrs. G. Lehmann

Last Published: February 19, 2016 11:51 AM
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