No other illustration from Thieleman J. van Braght’s volume, Martyrs Mirror, has so inspired generations of Anabaptists to respond with love in the face of persecution and violence. In a swift and sacrificial act, escaping Anabaptist prisoner, Dirk Willems, turns around to save his pursuer’s life, reaching to pull him from the chilly water having broken through the ice. The presence of God’s Spirit and love in this radical effort is visually represented by dot work surrounding and flowing between the outstretched hands — a technique influenced by medieval Celtic gospel illuminators’ use of red dots to enliven the Word. Additional hands in the piece serve as a chorus allowing viewers the opportunity to enter into this moving witness of divine peace in action. May the people of God in unison sing, as was so aptly written by Frances Ridley Havergal in his hymn, Take My Life and Let It Be (1874).
Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of God’s love. — Frances Ridley Havergal
At the Impulse of God’s Love
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