Friday, May 22, 2020

“Now To My Father I Depart”

Now to My Father I depart,
From earth to heav’n ascending,
And, heav’nly wisdom to impart,
The Holy Spirit sending;
In trouble He will comfort you
And teach you always to be true
And into truth shall guide you.

Copyright © Edward Riojas

I chose to showcase this illustration on the day after Ascension Day for obvious reasons. It was created for the book, “Dear Christians, One And All Rejoice” (Kloria Publishing), and illustrates a stanza written by Martin Luther.

Luther’s words condensed two ideas in this verse, which ultimately made for an unusual piece of art. I doubt that I am original in this, but a little visual research didn’t turn up anything identical. Sure, there are plenty of paintings depicting the Ascension of our Lord. Yes, there are paintings of the Holy Spirit descending. There are even paintings of Christ Jesus, reclining on clouds, watching the Holy Spirit descend, and there are paintings of the Holy Spirit [and The Father] waiting as Christ ascends into heaven. In the painting for this book, however, I intentionally did something different.

In a scene that, for lack of a better analogy, is very much akin to the workings of an elevator, Christ ascends, while the counterweight of the Holy Spirit descends with equal speed. The worm’s-eye view also helps to accentuate the feeling of motion. We strain our necks to watch the fast-fleeting Lord, even as the Dove comes down to earth.

Of course, we always associate the coming of the Holy Spirit with Pentecost, so there has always been a bit of a lag in the Church year between the two events. Those nine days have traditionally been a time of fasting. And waiting.

On the other hand, the Lord promised, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” It’s with that comfort that I depicted the Spirit passing Christ Jesus as the Savior ascended, and, if you catch the detail, Christ’s pierced hand is in a position of blessing. Even as He departs, He does not leave us as orphans.


Giclée prints of images from ‘Dear Christians’ are available for purchase in two formats. To order or for more information, please e-mail me at

Sizes/prices for giclée prints of “Dear Christians: Ascension Spread:”
30” x 19” / $140
24” x 15.2” / $110
16” x 10.1” / $75

Sizes/prices for giclée prints of “Dear Christians: Ascension Vertical:”
18.8” x 24” / $120
12.5” x 16” / $75

“Dear Christians, One And All Rejoice,” (Kloria Publishing) is available through Concordia Publishing House and

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